Confused by what's been going on in Italy?
Same here. Luckily, The New York Review of Books has a handy overview:
"A close outcome was not only predictable but actually planned by Berlusconi during his government's twilight as a way of lessening the impact of possible defeat. A few months before the election, Berlusconi studied polls that showed the center-left winning a substantial majority in parliament with the country's winner-take-all electoral system. He decided to change the election system...As the latest Italian elections (this time for president) get under way, though Berlusconi may have finally resigned (if not actually conceded), the only thing that seems certain is that we haven't seen the last of him...
" In a moment of candor, Berlusconi's minister for reform, Roberto Calderoli admitted, 'The election law? I wrote it, but it's a porcata>,' a vulgar term that roughly means 'a piece of pig shit.' Clearly it was intended to make the country ungovernable for Prodi and his leftist coalition."