Cover

"Everything falls apart", headlined this week'sL'Espresso about the governmental crisis getting deeper and deeper against a backdrop of sex scandals and disasters, like the floods in northeastern Itaiy and the collapse of a roman villa in Pompei. Yesterday Futuro e Libertà per l'Italia, the new party founded last month by former Berlusconi ally Gianfranco Fini, withdrew its ministers and support after its call for the premier's resignation were ignored. The government should now stay afloat until the crucial financial law is approved, expected before December 15, but after that the future is pitch black: Lega Nord wants to call snap elections, Fini and the centre-left opposition are negotiating a unity government to pass an electoral reform, while Silvio Berlusconi has talked about dissolving only the lower chamber, where his coalition has lost the majority. Whenever elections actually do take place, new alliances and balances brewing all across the political spectrum suggest there will be a complex and heated run-up, even by Italian standards.