Flat Earth: High politics

THE SARTORIAL appeal of Italy's new boys is apparently a factor in their success. A series of post-election opinion polls found that Italian women voted in droves for Silvio Berlusconi and his right-wing alliance because they found the tanned, manicured and smoothly dressed media tycoon much sexier than his rivals.

There wasn't much competition. Achille Occhetto, the earnest leader of the reformed Communist Party, is hardly a pin-up.

Panaiotis Kantzas, a professor of psychology at Siena University, says Mr Berlusconi's effect on women was 'like a mind drug', and that he 'acted like a sniff of cocaine'. Odd, you might think, when you realise the object of their passion is 54 and balding. Perhaps it is the aura of power that surrounds him.

When Italian women think of our politicians, we at Flat Earth wonder what narcotic they imagine: stale tobacco, gunpowder tea? A bottle of wine to the reader who provides the best answer. Postcards please, to: Flat Earth, c/o The Foreign Desk, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

(Photograph omitted)