There's something very seriously the matter with Italian politicians. I recognise that politicians and elites in many countries display scant regard for the ethical stances of others - and call it real politique - but the Leader of one half of the coalition governing Italy has just been condemned to seven years for involvement in under-age prostitution and abuse of office, while over 30 of the witnesses at the trial have been referred by the judge for investigation for perjury during the trial.
Giorgio Napolitano, President of Italy, has called for maintenance of the Coalition government and a period of governmental stability. The People of Liberty, whose Leader has been condemned, are crying 'foul' and 'persecution'. The other Coalition party, the Democratic Party, has stated it respects the judgment and the court. That's it.
No suggestion that there be a vote of confidence in the Coalition government in the Parliament, seeing as offering the resignation of the Executive hasn't crossed anyone's mind, let alone lips. No suggestion that perhaps Prime Minister Letta is now maintained in office by a Party led by a man with not one but two current convictions, and such a conviction, and is currently condemned to a total of eleven years; a Party who supplies the Minister of the Interior who denounces the judiciary in simply outrageous terms.
Letta gets up in Parliament and announces he has a very important European meeting in Brussels tomorrow. What's he going to say there? Hope no-one mentions this petty embarrassment to his government? He's meeting Silvio Berlusconi this evening. Let's hope that after the meeting Prime Minister Letta will go to the President and offer his resignation, and that it will be accepted.
There's no need for fresh elections (not a need, in the first instance, though a clean slate would be nice) but certainly another form of coalition must be sought and if not found then elections would be required. Required in a normal, decent democracy with a normal decent head of state that is.