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If Marine Le Pen leads her National Front party to victory, she improves her chances of making it to the 2017 presidential run-off. Photograph: Reuters

France will elect 74 MEPs on Sunday week. The government has not organised a civic information campaign, as it usually does for elections. Nearly two-(...)

 Italy’s new prime minister, Matteo Renzi,  is  pursued by the media as he leaves a church after attending Sunday Mass near Florence yesterday.   Photograph:  Maurizio Degl’Innocenti

In keeping with his innovative image, Italy’s youngest prime minister, Matteo Renzi, yesterday started his first (...)

 Democratic Party (PD) leader and Florence mayor, Matteo Renzi, during a ceremony at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy, today. He is set to become prime minister today when asked to form a government by the president. Photograph: Maurizio Degl’ Innocenti/EPA

Italy’s most recent government crisis went into overdrive today as the “irrevocable” resignation of prime minister Enrico Letta was officially (...)

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi closes his eyes in a gesture to supporters during a rally to protest his tax fraud conviction in central Rome in  August. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters.

Italy’s Senate will hold an open vote next month on whether to expel Silvio Berlusconi from parliament because of a tax fraud conviction, after an up(...)

People of Freedom leader Silvio Berlusconi rubs his eyes after delivering his speech at the Senate in Rome yesterday, in which he acknowledged defeat and said he would support the government. Photograph: Gregorio Borgia/AP

As cliffhangers go, the Senate confidence vote won yesterday 235-70 by the Enrico Letta coalition government was in a class of its own. Just as the ho(...)

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s former prime minister, speaks on a mobile phone after listening to the results during a parliamentary session inside the Senate, the upper house of parliament, in Rome today. Photograph: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

It is now official, signed and sealed. Italian political life is a very grave matter, but not a remotely serious one. At the end of a Kafkaesque morni(...)

A file image of  Silvio Berlusconi who has a month to  opt for either social services or house arrest.  Photograph: Reuters

Italy is bracing itself for the fallout from yesterday’s controversial court ruling in which centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi received a four-yea(...)

Italy’s supreme court today upheld a jail sentence against Silvio Berlusconi for tax fraud in a devastating blow to the former prime minister that cou(...)

The ‘Corte di Cassazione’ (Italy’s Supreme Court) where former Italian prime minister  Silvio Berlusconi final appeal against a conviction for tax fraud is being hear today. Photograph: Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images.

Lawyers for Silvio Berlusconi asked the supreme court on today to throw out a tax fraud conviction against the former prime minister in a case that ma(...)

A man holds up a picture of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi as he protests in front of Italy’s supreme court building in Rome. The court today began considering Mr Berlusconi’s last appeal against a jail sentence and ban from public office for tax fraud. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters.

Italy’s supreme court has began hearing Silvio Berlusconi’s last appeal against a jail sentence and ban from public office in a case which could enda(...)

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