"The government would have a fresh political mandate, but at the same time, a reappointment of Mario Monti would signal there is no negotiating, no flexibility in terms of achieving macroeconomic stability," Lombardi says.
That macroeconomic stability is a long way off, says Rehman, who believes that Italian economic growth will be painfully slow for at least five more years. And in her opinion, that means there is a clear best-case scenario for April's outcome: "It's not time for him to leave."
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Danielle Kurtzleben is a business and economics reporter for U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter @titonka or via E-mail at email@example.com.