Pope Benedict's resignation deepens doubt, despondency for Italians
Despite repeated pledges, the outgoing parliament failed to repeal a despised election law known as the "pigsty" because it gives party leaders control over who gets elected and awards a giant vote bonus to the party that wins.
It also muddies the waters in the upper house, or senate, by awarding winner's bonuses on a regional basis.
In addition, lawmakers failed to remove the extravagant privileges of a political "caste" and stopped short of a broad anti-corruption law.
Right on cue - some say it is no coincidence - the final weeks of the election campaign have seen an extraordinary wave of corruption scandals that have added to the disgust of a nation already well used to graft.
SCANDALS LINKED TO ELECTION
Many Italians believe that politicised magistrates have unleashed the scandals as part of the election battle.
Two major companies, defence group Finmeccanica and oil major Eni, and Tuscan bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy's third largest lender, are being probed for crimes ranging from bribing foreign officials to accounting fraud.
Finmeccanica boss Giuseppe Orsi and four executives from other firms have been arrested, not to mention several other ongoing investigations touching all the major parties.
Pollster Maurizio Pessato, of the SWG firm, told Reuters: "The voters are saying, 'I can't take it any more, there is a scandal every day.
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