A tumultuous year in Italian politics

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(L-R) Enrico Letta, Matteo Renzi, Giorgio Napolitano and Silvio Berlusconi. Photos: Tiziana Fabi/Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
13:35 CET+01:00
As Prime Minister Enrico Letta resigns after less than ten months in office, The Local looks back over the past year and picks out the key moments in Italian politics.

While Italian politics is not known for its steady course and low-key characters, the past year has been exceptional even by the country's own standards. 

A year ago Mario Monti's technocratic government was set to depart after just 15 months to make way for a new, democratically-elected prime minister.

But national elections brought no clear winner and a two-month stalemate ensued, with political leaders bickering endlessly until President Giorgio Napolitano knocked heads together and named a new premier in Enrico Letta.

The summer months brought relative stability, with Letta's cabinet getting to grips with the enormous challenges faced by the country's poor economy. That was until Silvio Berlusconi, three-time prime minister, charged back into the fore when he was found guilty of tax fraud in August.

Not willing to go quietly, Berlusconi made a miscalculated bid to bring the government down in October. The plan backfired spectacularly when Letta won a vote of confidence and Berlusconi was subsequently thrown out of the Senate over his criminal conviction.

But with one nemesis duly defeated, Letta may not have thought he would soon face another battle - against one of his own party men.

Matteo Renzi, mayor of Florence, was elected leader of the Democratic Party (PD) in December and set about outlining his political programme.

The supposedly smooth start to the year was but the calm before the storm, as this week Renzi launched a political coup against the PD prime minister. He succeeded on Thursday night when he gained the full backing of his party, forcing Letta to resign just a day after the prime minister had vowed to stay.

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While Renzi readies himself to take over the premiership, we take stock of a chaotic year in Italian political life.

IN PICTURES: Top 10 moments of a tumultuous year in Italian politics

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