Lost - a leader and his cause: Achille Occhetto took the Italian left from Communism to defeat. Donald Sassoon laments

WHEN Achille Occhetto, Italy's last Communist leader, resigned on Monday from the leadership of his remodelled Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), he more or less completed the skin-shedding of the Italian Left.

Berlusconi heals breach with president

LEADERS of Italy's new right-wing government coalition are seeking to thaw out relations with President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, after an icy start earlier this week.

Rebuff to Berlusconi delays cabinet list

ROME (Reuter) - Silvio Berlus coni, the prime minister-designate, fine-tuned his cabinet appointments yesterday, but a spokesman said the final list might not be ready until tomorrow.

Bossi under fire

MILAN - Efforts to form a new Italian government were thrown into turmoil yesterday after prosecutors asked for the indictments of Umberto Bossi, a key ally of the Prime Minister- designate, Silvio Berlusconi, and 36 others on charges of political financing violations. Mr Bossi, leader of the Northern League, was part of the conservative coalition that won the elections in March. AP

'Bribesville' trial ends with stiff sentence

IF ANY of Italy's huge army of corrupt politicians, businessmen, officials, go-betweens and hangers-on had hoped to be let off lightly, they will be far less optimistic now.

Last-minute hitches delay Berlusconi's final triumph

ROME - The media magnate Silvio Berlusconi will today be asked to form Italy's next government, according to a brief statement issued by the presidential office last night, writes Patricia Clough.

People: Chemical reaction

WITH his political career cut short in Italy's wide-ranging corruption scandal, Gianni De Michelis has returned to his old job - teaching organic chemistry. The loquacious former foreign minister went back to the classroom this week as a part-time lecturer at the University of Venice, where he had worked from 1964 to 1976, when he was elected a Socialist MP. Mr De Michelis had been on leave from the university and was entitled to return after losing his seat in last month's general elections.

Bossi sets tough terms for joining Italian government

PONTIDA - Umberto Bossi, the fiery leader of Italy's federalist Northern League, yesterday attached strict conditions to his party's entry into government and again raised the spectre of a breakaway by the north.

Italian alliance starts patching things up

THE LEADERS of Italy's fractious right-wing alliance showed signs yesterday of patching up the dispute over policy and power-sharing that had threatened to kill off the new government before it was born.

Italy's new ruling bloc still split

ONE WEEK after Silvio Berlusconi's right-wing alliance swept to victory in the Italian elections promising a swift transition to strong government, its members resume their haggling over power-sharing today further than ever from agreement.

Italy's 'post-Fascist' leader hails Mussolini

GIANFRANCO FINI, leader of the neo-Fascist National Alliance (AN), yesterday reminded Italians abruptly of whom they had elected when he described the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini as the 'greatest statesman of the century'.

Leading Article: Un Ballo in Maschera

THE LOVE of illusion plays a pervasive role in almost all the great works of Italian thought and culture since the Renaissance. It is the serpent in the garden of that remarkably gifted land. Italy's finest political philosophy celebrates deception. The skill of her painters treats realism as a tiresome facade. On the opera set, characters put on masks. They intermingle, exchange roles, politely deceive and betray. It is, after all, tribute to the civilised wisdom of Italian life that the stiletto has usually been preferred to the bludgeon. But the mask remains an essential prop, and never more so than today.

Leading Article: Italy should not forget the centre Political skills that Italy will need

NOT LONG AGO, the theme of Italian politics appeared to be simple. A corrupt old order was to be cast out by resolute magistrates, reforming politicians and a public newly alive to the virtues of civic responsibility. A new republic would arise upon the bankrupt remnants of the old. The complex history of Italy is punctuated by such interludes of clarity - the Risorgimento, for example, or the two decades of Mussolini's rule.

Bossi links political ally with old regime: The leader of Italy's Northern League is seeing victory slip from his grasp, writes Patricia Clough in Gardone Val Trompia

'WATCH out]' The alarm, deep and hoarse, echoes among the silent houses of Gardone. The revolution that started here in the Alpine valleys and down on the Lombardy plain is in danger. 'Watch out . . . out . . . out]'

Leading Article: Showmanship returns to Italian politics

THE Italian journalist Luigi Barzini once wrote a best-selling study of his fellow countrymen in which the chapter on Fascism bore the wry title: 'Mussolini, or the limits of showmanship.'
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links