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  • Let's imagine political Italy as if a performance by a symphony orchestra playing less Mozart than modern atonal, by definition music lacking a tonal center or key. The conductor, the economist Premier Enrico Letta, faces such unruly musicians that he can barely keep hold of his baton. In the background on stage is the chorus, warning that another 2% of Italians have slipped below the poverty line.
  • Facts & Stories
    Judith Harris(November 17, 2013)
    Stormy seas lie ahead but for the moment Premier Enrico Letta is riding on the crest of a wave. With the now definitive splintering of former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's highly personalized political party, his formally reborn Forza Italia passes into the minority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Thanks to Alfano's defection from Berlusconi, Letta hopes to remain in office until at least 2015. It is a victory for stability and, with luck, will postpone new national general elections even as economic problems continue to plague the country.
  • One of the more polite metaphors Italian pundits are using these days to describe the political parties - all of them - is "all at sea." Within the Partito Democratico (PD), larger of the parties composing the government, quarrels have broken out over rules for a forthcoming national congress and proposed constitutional reform. Behind some of the tension in that party is the debate over the future role of the popular young mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, who heads one party faction. But premier Enrico Letta remains at the helm, and even more popular than Renzi.
  • With seven women, the 21-member cabinet of Premier Enrico Letta vaunts the largest number of women of any Italian government in history. Emma Bonino is Italy's only second female Foreign Minister. Anna Maria Cancellieri holds the delicate post of Justice Minister. Two were born outside of Italy: Minister for Integration Cecile Kyenge was born in the Congo while Josefa Idem, the new Minister for Equal Opportunities, Sports and Youth, was born in Germany and holds 38 medals from world sporting competitions including the Olympics. Here they are, in profile.