Italian election, continued:

Davide Berretta, in today's International Herald Tribune, has a very smart piece about Silvio Berlusconi ("Il Cavaliere," as the press sometimes refers to him here in Italy) and the current national election campaign. Things have been getting a bit weird during this final week (voting is Sunday and Monday) of the campaign. First, in Monday night's debate, Berlusconi, during his final summation, announces that he will abolish the property tax on residences if he wins the election. It came completely out of the blue, and would mean about a 30% loss of revenue for local governments ... and then, after the debate, he was asked by a reporter how he thinks the vote will go; he replied: The Left can't win; I have too much respect for the Italian electorate to think "che ci siano cosi tanti coglioni" -- that they would have the balls -- to vote against their own interests. It is (apparently) a very vulgar expression, not the sort of thing Italians expect their PM to say -- although, as Berretta points out, maybe Berlusconi gets to play by new rules.