Marco Werman: Now imagine, a country with a political system very different from America's, where a political crisis blows up one day, a new government is formed pretty much right away, and the voters have no say in the process. That pretty much describes Italy at the moment. Roberto D'Alimonte is a professor of political science at Guido Carlo University in Rome. So, help us figure this all out. Who's in and who's out suddenly, Roberto?
Roberto D'Alimonte: So, the person that supposedly is going to be the next prime minister is a very young man. He's 39 years old. He's presently mayor of my town, Florence, and his name is Matteo Renzi, and he's not even a member of Parliament.
Werman: So, how can this happen without voters going to the polls to elect a new prime minister?
D'Alimonte: Because in the parliamentary system it is possible to change the prime minister and even the composition of the government. You don't need an election in the parliamentary system to do that. The voters choose the members of parliament, the members of parliament choose the government. So the members of parliament can make a decision to change the government if they want.
Werman: And remind us who Matteo Renzi replaced as prime minister.
D'Alimonte: Matteo Renzi replaces a member of Matteo Renzi's party. His name is Letta. He has been prime minister for about 10 months. The party now is in the hands of Matteo Renzi, and Matteo Renzi is going to become prime minister because he thinks that he can reinvigorate the performance of the government.
Werman: He seems to be pretty popular in Italy. Is that right?
D'Alimonte: He is popular because he's young and he has promised to bring to power a new generation of leaders, younger people. He's very dynamic. People believe that he embodies the kind of revolution that Italy needs. The real surprise is that Matteo Renzi has decided to step in the position of prime minister without an election.
Werman: How do voters feel about all this happening without an election?
D'Alimonte: Mixed views because this is a big change compared to the original game plan. Many of Renzi's supporters are bewildered, are concerned, some are upset, that he has tried to do that. Others feel this was necessary to get out of that situation of limbo. The Letta government was not very effective. So it's mixed views, mixed feelings. And only if he does well, only if he delivers change and not just promises, he will be able to keep alive his political career.
Werman: Roberto D'Alimonte with Guido Carlo University in Rome. Thanks very much for your time.
D'Alimonte: You're very welcome.