Italy: Enter a coalition of the technorati?

Italy: Enter a coalition of the technorati? Well, probably not, but the Democratic Party, the Italian parliamentary opposition has today adopted two moves from the anti-crisis playbook that, had they happened in Greece, might have changed the way things ended (and they are close to ending, say people in the markets).

First, the centre-left opposition has agreed to rush through parliament the euro 40bn austerity budget that the Berlusconi administration is still quibbling about.

In return they want Silvio Berlusconi to go and a "technical government" headed by a "European big figure", deputy leader Enrico Letta tells me tonight.

With Mr Berlusconi's parliamentary majority recently bolstered, there is not much chance of this happening - but the situation is serious.

Mr Berlusconi has been absent from the airwaves for four days because he is dealing with a crisis in his Fininvest business empire (elderly media mogul struggles with corporate crisis, shock). Today he too has come out calling for "national unity".

Meanwhile the share price of Italy's banks - which had been falling for two days - has recovered a little; possibly on the prospect of euro 40bn austerity; probably not on the prospect of a technocratic grand coalition.