|Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi|
. . . and a “friend” (actually his daughter,
but with Big Silvio, you never know).
Questions arose last October over his relationship with the girl, a dancer and alleged prostitute named Karima El Mahrouq, a Moroccan runaway. Berlusconi made calls to the local police who had picked up the girl on theft charges, after which she was released. Berlusconi admits no wrongdoing.
This kind of ordinary political scandal, juicy though it may be, is not something The Hourly G wastes its time on—
—except that Italy is teetering: There’s been lots of hand-wringing over Portugal and especially Spain’s fiscal situation—but Italy is no slouch either, when it comes to fiscal trouble.
Berlusconi narrowly survived the no confidence vote this past December 14 not because he’s so popular—he’s not—but because there was no one else to replace him, as the opposition is in disarray and has no strong contender for a Berlusconi replacement.
Nobody wants in Italy a situation like Belgium, where there hasn’t been a government for going on seven months, the nation winding along essentially without a driver. After all, Belgium has a GDP of $461 billion—Italy a GDP of over $2 trillion.
As of this morning, Italian bond traded 1.688% over German 10-years.