Nightly News   |  March 17, 2013

Italy waiting

After the election of a new pope, Italians hoping to focus on political and economic unrest. NBC’s Lester Holt reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> welcomes a new roman catholic leader, the focus now turns to another leadership crisis forming a new government after a deadlocked national election. the election of a new pope was a huge relief to a country that in recent weeks has witnessed the twin pillars of its society -- the national government and the roman catholic church in flux.

>> these are two institutions with major failures.

>> reporter: as pope francis now sets a path towards church reforms, italy 's political future remains in limbo. last month's national elections failed to produce a ruling government at a time of staggering unemployment amid the longest recession in 0 years.

>> it is a chance for my future.

>> do you think the selection of a new pope is a sign of hope?

>> no, i don't think so.

>> reporter: the impact is visible along rome's famous shopping streets . repo roberto had to close the store his family has owned for 137 years and move to a smaller space to survive.

>> many, many historic shops close because they don't have money.

>> reporter: this is not the care-free postcard italy known to most americans. suicide rates have spiked dramatically. this month in pru gentleman, a struggling clothing maker turned down for credit shot two civil servants to death before killing3 find a solution and we need to find something of value.

>> reporter: italian voters have derailed former premier silvio berlusconi 's comeback. italy is left without direction.

>> parties were fed up with the parties and they voted for very strong protests against them.

>> reporter: many young eitalians are leaving the country to seek jobs in other parts of europe. the drama of the papal transition played out on a relative fast track. italians fear they may have to wait much longer for political change. italy 's political stalemate is holding up needed economic reforms . unless all sides agree to form a new government, new leaks may have to be held as early as june.