"Since Berlusconi took office four years ago, resistance to his government has continued to grow. His economic and social policies have sparked mass protests. In the past two years, this was combined with mass opposition to Italian participation in the Iraq war, which is rejected by the majority of the population. Rome witnessed the largest of the antiwar demonstrations that swept Europe.
"The latest electoral debacle reflects the government’s loss of support not only among the lower classes, but also among sections of the middle class that had hoped for reduced taxes and an improvement in the economic situation... In particular, women, young people and voters from the south of the country have turned their backs on the [government] majority and have gone over to the opposition.”
"Meanwhile, the opposition centre-left coalition stands ready to continue Berlusconi’s business-friendly policies should his government fall. This is guaranteed by the figure of opposition leader Romano Prodi, who as a former president of the European Union Commission enjoys the unrestricted confidence of Italian big business... In an interview with Corriere della Sera, the secretary-general of the Left Democrats (DS), Piero Fassino, said that a centre-left government would not repeal labour flexibility laws, privatisations or tax cuts for the rich.