Italy: Going for No. 47

Going for No. 47

For the Communists it was a humiliating defeat. For the Christian Democrats and Socialists it was an uplifting victory. But for the citizens of Italy last week's two-day election meant more of the same gridlock that has produced 46 governments since World War II, and yet another battle for the premiership, which is what triggered the election to begin with.

The Communists took 26.6% of the vote, a 3.3-percentage-point drop from the 1983 elections and their worst showing in 20 years. The Socialists increased their share of the vote by nearly three points, more than any other party, to 14.3%. The...