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Who's afraid of Giorgia Meloni?

Italy's politics are a rollercoaster ride in the best of times — the country has had 18 governments in the past 32 years — and despite the best efforts of current Prime Minister Mario Draghi to navigate the COVID crisis, Italians may well be in for another sharp turn in coming months.

This time, however, populist firebrand Matteo Salvini may not find himself in the front seat. Meet Giorgia Meloni, Italy's rising populist star.

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Enrico Letta on Italian politics: “Houston, we have a problem”

Why is Italy's political scene so unstable and what are the odds that its newest Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, can pull it out of a tailspin? Since 1989 the country has had 18 prime ministers, six in the last decade alone. One of those six prime ministers to have resigned in the last ten years is Enrico Letta, who shares his perspective in a conversation with with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Italy in Europe's spotlight: insights from former PM Enrico Letta

Italy’s dysfunctional politics

Italy's economy was already weak before the pandemic, but saw a nearly 9-point decline in GDP over the past year. While unemployment was dropping from a decade high reached in 2014, it was still around 10% in early 2020. And if you don't like Italy's political leaders…just wait a minute. They'll change. In fact, since 1989 the country has had 18 prime ministers. By comparison, Germany has had only three chancellors and France just five presidents. Can Italy's new Prime Minister pull the country out of its political tailspin? Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Italy in Europe's spotlight: insights from former PM Enrico Letta

Who is Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi?

Only in Italy could a mild-mannered technocrat be widely popular for just being, well, competent. But that's exactly how Mario Draghi (nicknamed Super Mario) has been received since he agreed to lead the country at a moment of political turmoil this February. Why is Draghi so popular and why is he poised to be a leader of not just Italy but Europe as a whole? Ian Bremmer poses those questions to another former Italian prime minister, Enrico Letta, on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Italy in Europe's spotlight: insights from former PM Enrico Letta

Why Italy's third COVID lockdown is different

A year ago, a horrific series of photos of overflowing hospitals in Italy's Lombardy region made many Americans realize that this pandemic was going to have devastating results. And now, over 100,000 deaths later, Italy is entering its third lockdown. But this time is different, says former Prime Minister Enrico Letta, because now a lockdown doesn't mean a total economic shutdown. And there's hope on the horizon, as long as the country can get its act together on the vaccines front.

Letta's conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of a new episode of GZERO World, which began airing on US public television stations nationwide on Friday, March 26. Check local listings.

Watch the episode: Italy in Europe's spotlight: insights from former PM Enrico Letta

Italy in Europe's spotlight: insights from former PM Enrico Letta

Whoever said, "when in Rome, do as the Romans do" clearly could not envision what would become of Italian politics. Since 1989 the country has had 18 prime ministers, six in the last decade alone. And while the pandemic afforded the government some much-needed political unity in the short-term, the warm feelings cooled quickly this winter as political infighting forced a popular prime minister to resign. But Italy's new leader, Mario Draghi (nicknamed "Super Mario"), looks like he just might break the mold and deliver positive change—and political stability—to Italy. That's according to Enrico Letta, one of those six prime ministers to have resigned in the last ten years. Letta joins Ian Bremmer on this episode of GZERO World.

Podcast: Italy In Europe's spotlight: insights from former PM Enrico Letta

Listen: Whoever said, "when in Rome, do as the Romans do" clearly could not envision what would become of Italian politics. Since 1989 the country has had 18 prime ministers, six in the last decade alone. And while the pandemic afforded the government some much-needed political unity in the short-term, the warm feelings cooled quickly this winter as political infighting forced a popular prime minister to resign. But Italy's new leader, Mario Draghi (nicknamed "Super Mario") looks like he just might break the mold and deliver positive change—and political stability—to Italy. That's according to Enrico Letta, one of those six prime ministers to have resigned in the last ten years. Letta joins Ian Bremmer on this episode of the GZERO World podcast.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Has Italy's far right really changed its tune?

Italian politician Matteo Salvini has long been one of Italy's most outspoken critics of the EU — just a year ago he called the Union a "den of snakes and jackals." But the plain-spoken firebrand has abruptly changed his tune in recent weeks, joining the national unity government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi. As far European politicians go, Draghi, a former head of the European Central Bank, is about as pro-EU as you can get. So what might have prompted Salvini's surprising about-face? And what does it mean for the future of far-right populism in the EU's third-largest country?

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