New Year, New Italy?

Rome After Monti

Mario Monti at the Fiat car factory in Melfi. (Courtesy Reuters)

Just over a year ago, Silvio Berlusconi cut a forlorn figure as he caved under the mounting pressure to resign as Italy's prime minister, making way for the elegant professor and former Eurocrat Mario Monti. His foes in the Italian and international media had a field day: The Economist announced "Hallelujah: Berlusconi Resigns," and the Financial Times declared that "il Bunga Bunga festa é finita" ("the Bunga Bunga party is over"). A common view was that Berlusconi's last bow was the end of an era; few predicted his return to frontline politics within little more than a year. On December 8, however, Berlusconi marked his reentrance on the scene by withdrawing his party group's support for the incumbent government, forcing Monti's resignation and the holding of early elections in February 2013, and announcing he would stand once again as a candidate for

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