Saturday’s New York Times reports on the withdrawal of the Christian Democratic Union from Italy’s center-right coalition government under Silvio Berluconi. The withdrawal may lead to either a new government or fresh elections, the latter of which would probably favor a center-left coalition under former prime minister Romano Prodi. The CDU, however, is sending mixed signals about its withdrawal, so it’s possible Berlusconi will be able to maintain the coalition if he makes some policy changes.
As James Joyner points out, Italy hasn’t exactly been known for stable post-war governments, so if Berlusconi’s coalition collapses, it would hardly be unprecedented. (Italy manages to muddle through the instability largely because it has a remarkably strong civil service.)