Italy’s Compromise Government Faces Uncertain Future, Plays Into Berlusconi’s Hands

My piece on Italy’s new government has just been published by Time.

It’s a solution that came after all other avenues were exhausted. On April 29, more than two months after the Italian elections, the country’s Parliament is expected to give life to a coalition government. Led by Enrico Letta, a high-ranking member of the center-left Democratic Party, Italy’s new administration will be dependent on support from former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a man many in Letta’s party regard as the enemy.

Indeed, the deal comes only after efforts to find another solution exposed deep rifts in the Democratic Party. After an election in which no party was able to secure a clear victory, Pier Luigi Bersani, the party’s leader during the elections, fervently opposed any compromise with the sex-scandal-plagued media mogul, only to resign his position last week after repeatedly trying and failing to get his parliamentarians to vote for his candidates for the Italian presidency. “On any issue of relevance, the party is split,” says Roberto D’Alimonte, a professor of political science at Rome’s LUISS University. “Letta might get more support from Berlusconi than his own party. That’s the paradox.”

Read the rest.