Now that Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti has resigned, there's a good chance that Italy will be in the forefront of a new Eurozone crisis.
That means 2013 doesn't look to be a good year for the euro, either-especially with new Italian elections likely to take place in February.
Of course, the EU establishment hopes that Monti can remain in office, but with four very different candidates now jockeying for position, Italy is one of the continent's great question marks.
The leading candidates in this crucial contest include:
- Silvio Berlusconi, leading the remnants of his former rightist coalition,
- Monti himself, currently in negotiations with several centrist parties,
- Luigi Bersani, leading the left-wing Democrats, currently regarded as most likely to win
- And comedian Beppe Grillo, whose Five Star Movement is leftist and anti-authoritarian.
Meanwhile, the return of Berlusconi, whom the establishment forced out in 2011, would be a nightmare for the euro. That goes for the ascension of Grillo as well.
In the balance of this pivotal contest could be the fate of the Eurozone itself.