As summed up by Denis Verdini, coordinator of Forza Italia (FI), in an

interview in La Repubblica after the constitutional congress of People

of Liberty (PdL) at the end of March 2009, “It is more difficult to unite

the elites than to unite the voters.” This assessment is especially apt

considering the tensions that have characterized relations between

allies in the government during the early part of the current coalition’s

tenure. This analysis can be extended to the entire government,

which, beyond the newly formed PdL—composed of FI, the National

Alliance (AN), and a small sub-group of the Christian Democrats

who support northern Italian autonomy—also includes the Northern

League (LN) of Umberto Bossi and some smaller parties, represented

by a team of junior ministers: the Liberal Populists (a faction within

the PdL), the Christian Democratic Party (DC), and the Movement for

Autonomy (MpA) of the president of Sicily, Raffaele Lombardo.