With the Democratic Party firmly in control of Italy’s lower house and a very divided field in the upper house, one of the two mathematically possible coalitions was for the Democrats to form a coalition with Beppe Grillo’s populist anti-austerity 5 Star Movement. Today Grillo ruled that out, meaning the only workable coalition would be a “grand coalition” between the Democrats and Silvio Berlusconi’s party.
That seems exceedingly unlikely, as the basic state of Italian politics is that the Democrats view Berlusconi as a criminal.
Meanwhile, Peer Steinbrueck, who leads Germany’s opposition Social Democrats, declared himself “appalled that two clowns have won” the election in Germany—referring to Berlusconi and Grillo.* That’s a reminder that though Italy is certainly still a democratic republic whose voters can elect whomever they want, the only choices actually acceptable to Germany are the left-wing-but-committed-to-austerity Democrats and Mario Monti.
* Correction: This post initially said Steinbrueck referred to Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani as a clown, when he was referring to Grillo.