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Record unemployment, recession and a debt crisis: Italy's next government will have a lot on its plate. The favorite to head up the next government is Luigi Bersani. He's promised to continue the work started by technocrat Mario Monti on shoring up Italy's finances. But despite various scandals Silvio Berlusconi has re-emerged on the scene. He's likely to pick up votes with promises to cut taxes.

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Mario Monti took up the job as prime minister with a limited mandate to restore the faith of the markets in Italy's shaky finances. He's done this by imposing a rigid austerity package but the economy has stagnated. The only thing booming is the dissatisfaction of Italians with ever deepening cuts.

And there's a new party on the block. The populist Five Star movement led by comedian Beppe Grillo has had considerable success with its anti-Europe and anti-foreigner message.

So how will Italy vote? Is Mario Monti's austerity drive about to become history? Is Italy ready for a new beginning? What chances do the likes of Berlusconi and Grillo really have?

Tell us what you think: Election in Italy - Hearts or Minds?

E-mail to quadriga@dw.de

Our guests:

Stefano Casertano He is the correspondent for the italian business newspaper Linkiesta in Berlin. He also taught international politics at Potsdam University, and was a Senior Fellow at the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security. He served as international affairs advisor for the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and published four books about geopolitics, starting with a History of Cold War in 2009. In 2010, he has been nominated "Italian Young Leader" by the US-Italy council; and "Aspen Young Fellow" by the Aspen Institute.

Burkhard Birke – Studied economics at university and has been a journalist since 1982. Birke became the Washington correspondent for the German channel ARD in 1988. He has also reported from Brussels, London and Paris and today he is the Berlin correspondent for Germany's public broadcasting radio network, Deutschlandradio.

Marcus Walker – is a Berlin-based correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and has been covering European economics since 2005. Walker holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics, and economics and a master’s degree in international relations, both from Oxford University. A British national, he was born in Leipzig and grew up in the United Kingdom.