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There is a reason why Italy has had more than 60 governments since WW2: the Italian political system is complicated at best – and, dare I say it, dysfunctional at worst.
The country's electoral laws dictate that a party – or coalition – needs a majority in both the Lower Chamber AND the Senate to govern. And the likelihood is that this time around, there is little chance of a stable government.
And THAT means Italians may need to return to the polls. Even a member of Bersani's center-left Democratic Party is predicting ANOTHER election.
Why? Well, it's completely unrealistic to imagine a broad coalition between the center-left and the center-right led by three-time PM Silvio Berlusconi. Some would say, quite frankly, that's a relief!
So, what of Mario Monti? He's the "White Knight" technocrat brought in 14 months ago to steady a ship sinking under the weight of Berlusconi's inept domestic economic policies, not to mention personal problems. Monti's reform and austerity measures have been hugely unpopular with many voters – hence his meltdown in the polls.
And the Clown Prince of Italian politics – 5-Star's Beppe Grillo? When once he just made the electorate laugh, his success in winning 20 percent of the vote simply points to an Italian public absolutely fed up with the status quo.
So where does this all leave the Eurozone's third-biggest economy and the world's eighth largest? Full of uncertainty – and, sadly, looking decidedly shaky.
Deja vu? I'd say so.
The chairman of Ranulph Fiennes' Antarctic expedition tells Max Foster why the explorer is pulling out of his latest challenge.