Italian, German Voters Get Their Turns To Ruin The Global Economy

Now that the U.S.'s economic recovery is a sure thing, thanks to the hard work our sage and wise leaders put in a couple of hours after allowing the country to fly off the fiscal cliff, weary eyes turn to the other side of the Atlantic, where the Germans and Italians look to elect similarly sage and wise representatives. Well, the Germans, anyway.
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Now that the U.S.'s economic recovery is a sure thing, thanks to the hard work our sage and wise leaders put in a couple of hours after allowing the country to fly off the fiscal cliff, weary eyes turn to the other side of the Atlantic, where the Germans and Italians look to elect similarly sage and wise representatives. Well, the Germans, anyway.

Italy votes first, on Feb. 24-25. Former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's bid for a comeback is already making politicians and markets anxious around Europe…

You remember Silvio, don't you? He's the former leader of a major economy convicted of tax evasion in October. But don't put it past the Italians to make him their prime minister for a fourth time, rather than the dour Mario Monti, the economist-technocrat who replaced him in an effort to keep Italy from becoming Greece. According to recent polls, somewhat less than 20% of Italians plan to vote for Silvio's party, compared to about one-third who are backing the left-leaning Partito Democratico.

Later this year, an actually important country will vote on whether to keep the woman Silvio once called una "culona inchiavabile" (Look it up. Or click here.) in charge of both it and Europe. Her chances look good:

Peer Steinbrück, the Social Democratic Party’s candidate for chancellor, said in an interview in the Sunday edition of the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that “Angela Merkel is popular because she gets a women’s bonus.”

Europe's Recovery Hinges on Key Votes [WSJ]
In Germany, Merkel’s Main Rival Appears to Stumble From Gaffe to Gaffe [NYT]

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