AS LOMBARDY GOES: The Italian region of Lombardy looms large over the upcoming election. With more Senate seats than any other region, its vote will have an outsized impact because no party will be able to rule without Senate control.
"ITALY'S OHIO": Lombardy's vote will likely determine whether the eurozone's third-largest economy gets the stable government it needs to tackle the economic crisis. In the past it supported the populist Northern League, but polls show the race neck-and-neck with 30 percent undecided.
WILD CARD: The former mayor of Milan is now aligned with Premier Mario Monti's centrist forces, bolstering the reformist leader's chances for a powerful role in the next government.