Flat Earth: Everything must go

THESE are dark days indeed for Italy's traditional political parties, whose members are either under arrest on corruption charges or have just swelled the ranks of the unemployed after last week's electoral victory of the new right.

Saddest of all is the once omnipotent Christian Democrat Party, which disintegrated into several little rumps and was roundly thrashed. As if to rub salt into the wounds, an enormous banner declaring 'Bankruptcy' has been raised on the front of the building opposite the party's cavernous Rome headquarters. No, it's not rivals' revenge after the party's years of hegemony. It's an advertisement for a liquidation sale at a clothing shop. Last year's suits are being chucked out.

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