Berlusconi Survives, but Italian Rage Builds

My piece on the riots in Rome has just been published by Time.

In Italy, it’s time to pick up the pieces. Even as shopkeepers in Rome were rolling up their shutters after fierce riots engulfed much of the historic center on Tuesday, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was reaching out to centrist parliamentarians, hoping to bolster the thin majority with which he had barely survived a vote of no confidence earlier on the same day.

The final votes had yet to be counted when Berlusconi crossed the floor of Parliament to exchange jokes and pats on the shoulder with Pier Ferdinando Casini, the silver-haired leader of the Union of the Center, a coalition of Christian Democrats that has joined the opposition in defying the Prime Minister. After a tense parliamentary session in which the Premier’s opponents accused him of vote buying and clinging to power for personal gain, Berlusconi emerged bloodied but victorious, with 314 votes to his opponents’ 311.

Read the rest.