Italy has been holding its national elections yesterday and today, and as I write the polls are closing. If you want to check out the results, here is the official website. Will Silvio Berlusconi, the dominant figure in Italian politics, somehow manage to win again? You can check it out there.

I actually traveled to Italy to cover elections in 1996 and 2001, which was a lot of fun. My favorite interview was with a fiftyish woman and her twentysomething son on the Viale Trastevere, across the Tiber from the larger part of Rome. Through a translator I asked her whom she was voting for. She turned to her son, as the women in couples I interviewed invariably deferred to men. He gave a long answer which started off (as Italian political talk tends to do) with his theory about politics and then went on to say that in accord with that theory he was supporting the parties of the right, i.e., Berlusconi’s coalition. Then I turned to his mother to get her opinion. She said simply, “Isn’t he wonderful?”