Now that the fifteenth legislature has come to an end, it is appropriate to assess the performance of the government whose fall was responsible for this event, as well as the coalition's significance for the trajectory of Italian politics generally. The four articles that follow this one together initiate the task, exploring performance from an institutional and policy-making point of view. This article suggests four criteria for evaluating the performance of any government and offers a brief initial ‘summary report’ in terms of them – paying special attention to implementation of the programme and to communications. Bearing in mind the structural conditions in which it had to work, the government had some notable achievements to its credit, but these same conditions undermined it by opening up an unbridgeable gap between performance and popular perceptions of performance.
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