THE D'ALEMA government was created by, and depends on, the leaders of seven political parties who are already thinking about the next election. On the majority of the tasks that lie ahead, the interest of the parties are not conflicting, they are opposing. It will be interesting to see how economic rigour can be reconciled with the "political cost". These costs will increase in relation to the number of parties, their newly discovered power and the sense that they are above the law. D'Alema's government has emerged from the union of the historic sense of responsibility of the Italian left and the promise of the old Christian Democrats to give everything to everybody.
FOR ITALIANS who had hoped that a new breed of politicians might emerge after Tangentopoli, the scandals over political bribes which erupted in 1992, or even that Mr Prodi's near-record two-and-a-half years in office represented a new stability, the past two weeks of manoeuvring and bickering have provoked weariness, shame, and even disgust. Is there any reason to believe politics under Mr D'Alema will be different?
Corriere della Sera
ON THE day in which Romano Prodi lost the confidence vote in parliament, D'Alema pronounced: "We can't carry on with dilettantes." Followed by a delicious simile, whereby "Italians are like the thoroughbred horses at the Palio of Siena, they know how to win even without a rider". OK, Prime Minister. But if you could avoid falling off during the race, we'd be much happier.