The first part of this chapter deals with the context within which the

death and transfiguration of the Ulivo has taken place. It examines both

the social framework as well as policies in the various areas (international,

institutional, and socio-economic) in which the contest between

government and opposition unfolded. This first section, “The Berlusconi

Government: Friend or Foe?” illustrates the two sides of a dilemma

upon which the Italian left oscillates. We will use three policy areas—

institutions, war and peace, and socio-economic policy—to illustrate

how this fluctuation plays out. The second section, “The Ulivo in 2003,”

is divided into two parts. In the first (“Death of the Ulivo: Artemide and

Sergio Cofferati”), we will describe events that took place leading up to

the summer of 2003, when Romano Prodi presented his proposal for a

unified left and its acceptance by the Margherita, the DS, and the SDI.

The second part of this section (“The Single List and the Reformist

Party”) examines the initial developments in Prodi’s challenge and

assesses whether these will give rise to an effective “transfiguration.”