by Andrew Stuttaford

 If the polls are to be believed (and they almost certainly are), Berlusconi’s moment has passed, but there’s something more than a little unseemly (“hallelujah”) about the relish with which the Economist discusses the news that Mario Monti (former EU Commissioner, an EU-federalist, and so on) is likely to be asked to form a government by the country’s president (a former stalwart of the Italian Communist Party, FWIW), and, the cheery unconcern with which it reports this:

Most observers expect that Mr Monti’s cabinet will be made up almost exclusively of technocrats without party allegiance, a solution reminiscent of governments of national salvation conjured at times of crisis in what were once called “third world” nations.

But there are still some heretics around:

Analysts will also want to know what attitude Mr Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party will take to the new government. The PdL is still the biggest party in parliament, with around 250 of the 630 seats in the lower house. But it has been deeply split by the prospect of a Monti administration. Many of its legislators wanted new elections instead (polls suggest that, notwithstanding the electorate’s rejection of Mr Berlusconi, the right could win again).

Elections? No, no, that wouldn’t do at all. 

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