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  • Former President Giorgio Napolitano left office definitively Jan. 14, returning to his home in Rome’s colorful, ancient Monti quarter, a stone’s throw from Trajan’s Forum. His departure after nine turbulent years in office was moving to watch as, in the great courtyard of the Quirinal Palace, he received the formal farewell salute of a horseback brigade in full regalia. Now, with that ritual behind, the less elegant horse trading to elect a successor begins in earnest. Two years ago Napolitano agreed to succeed himself only to break a long political stalemate. The question is whether that stalemate will be repeated, without a Giorgio Napolitano to smooth over a difficult transition