I am covering the Italian Presidential race in my articles and occasional blogs for the Commentator,
In short, there can be no new elections unless there is a new President, since Napolitano cannot diossolve Parliament within 6 months of the end of his own mandate, which ends in four weeks. Voting began on Thursday 18th and Bersani, who has a majority in the lower house, proposed a trade unionist and moderate left winger Franco Marini, 80 (that's not a misprint, he's 80 years old). This was apparently in a stitch up with Berlusconi and people were wondering what Silvio was getting in return for this (immunity from prosecution, anybody?). Smelling a huge ratto a large part of the Partito Democratico, which had proposed Marini, didn't vote for him. So he didn't win.
Now Bersani has proposed Romano Prodi, known as The Mortadella because he comes from
It doesn't seem possible for Prodi to win, but there again it didn't seem possible for Marini to lose. This is Italy.
The photo shows the tremendous Alessandra Mussolini, who herself got as many votes as Prodi in the last round of voting, making a protest in the chamber. The back of her T-shirt says 'The Devil wears Prodi'. Outside the Parliament building there were demonstrators chopping up bits of mortadella.