ITALY NEWS

Back in the saddle

Berlusconi wins his third term as prime minister
(issue no. 78/2008 / April 30, 2008)

The recent general elections moved Italy closer to a two-party political system. Weary of the factionalism and backbiting of the previous centre-left administration, Italian voters opted for the stability that only media mogul, Silvio Berlusconi could provide.

Berlusconi's alliance won about 47 percent in both houses of Parliament

, against the center-left's 38 percent. With an unexpectedly strong majority in both the Senate and the House, Berlusconi's political alliance-the People of Freedom party (PDL), the Northern League and the Movement for Autonomy-promises the political stability needed to tackle inflation, crime, illegal immigration, Alitalia and the trash crisis in Naples.

Even though Walter Veltroni's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) came out a loser at the elections, the PD is still the second largest party in parliament and boasts a rise in voters since 2006. Veltroni ally Italy of Values (IDV), led by former anti-corruption prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro, is the fifth biggest party, winning 4.4 percent.

Veltroni expected to head the opposition, will try to consolidate power across the center-left and gain support from the smaller political parties in the streamlined Parliament, now composed of only six parties; there were 26 last term.

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