Still Waiting for the Transformation

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Italy in 2013 seemed to be continually on the cusp of substantive reform and forward motion, but never quite achieved it. The previous two years had seen the fall of the Berlusconi government and the beginning of the end of the Second Republic, followed by the predominance of technocrats in office. In contrast, 2013 proved to be a year of incomplete transitions, marked by a period during which the Italian political and institutional system reached a near complete stalemate. Grand coalitions were incapable of substantive decision-making, bold initiatives languished in the legislature, foreign policy actions faltered and failed, and the government showed a continued inability to effectively tackle the real economic and social issues that faced the country. Thus, in many ways, Italy has been muddling through as it did following the fall of the First Republic. Although some of the political developments that took place in the waning months of the year may prove to be the foundation for future momentous changes, it is very likely that 2014 will prove to be a further continuation of the seemingly endless transitional period in Italy.