Writing in this annual two years ago, Marc Lazar discussed the birth of

the Partito Democratico (PD, Democratic Party). Like many births, that of

the PD was characterized by trepidation and optimism in similar doses.

Yet the party was in government and had, in Walter Veltroni, a leader

who was backed by an overwhelming majority of party sympathizers.

Two years later, the PD is in much poorer health. It is now out of government,

has performed badly in sub-national and European elections, and

has a new leader, Pierluigi Bersani, who does not command the support

of an overwhelming majority and may indeed antagonize some of the

party’s right-leaning members. The PD is either a sickly child or, in the

recent judgment of Francesco Rutelli, was never actually born at all.