The traditional sound of the pre-Christmas concert filled Italy’s Senate at the annual concert.
But Guissepe Verdi’s appropriately entitled aria “The force of destiny” could only be heard inside the chamber. Outside, people were deafened by the sound of sabre-rattling.
With an election looming, centre-right leaders are pressuring Prime Minister Mario Monti to run for a second term.
Secretary of the centre-right People of Freedom Party Angelino Alfano says backing Monti is the best way to continue economic reforms and head off the threat from the centre Left.
Former Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s party withdrew support for Monti’s technocrat government ten days ago, although he has pledged to withdraw as a candidate if Monti runs in the resulting election.
The fragmentation is also leading to splintering with a further grouping gathering in the centre-right in favour of forging its own way ahead.
Latest polls the real winner might be the centre-left. Figures put the People of Freedom Party 16.5 percent support, compared with 31 percent for the centre-left PD.