Dimitris Rapidis

Berlusconi’s Backlash (?)

The man in blue-black


Four months after the composition of Enrico Letta’s cabinet with the participation of the Democratic Party, the People of Freedom, Civic Choice, the Union of the Center and four more independent MPs, Italy’s ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi attempted to draw the support his party had pledged to the coalition government. A sound and impressive maneuver, but from the wrong person.

Unfortunately in Italy’s fragile economic and social stability, Silvio Berlusconi is the last politician and citizen that has the right to debate over the current political and economic policy. And this lost right is not at all attributed to his shaky personal life and the conviction for tax fraud. It is above all his disastrous indecisiveness, his huge political management drawbacks and the fact that even his MPs are reluctant to be loyal to their party leader. Meanwhile recent polls show an unchanged and spread partition of votes amongst several parties with none of them enjoying considerable support. In the midst of such a political environment, what was actually the departing point of Berlusconi’s strategic through?

Should Italy go to snap election, the outcome would be nothing more than a complete quagmire. A caretake government would be in charge, with discussions over the composition of the government to be fruitless. In this context, Berlusconi’s shift and effort to draw support from the government would not turn to be in his favor, nor to his party’s favor. After the latest developments and the renewed parliamentary confidence vote, it goes without saying that Mr. Berlusconi has lost a considerable part of his support and the right to exert veto in Enrico Letta’s government. Even worse, after his conviction, he runs the risk of being expelled from the parliament and see his power get incredibly dwindled.

Despite the fact that Berlusconi’s effort to bring changes in the government has been in vain, I have some serious doubts regarding his political future. A politician that has been dominating a large part of the media and coming again again in mainstream politics and statesmanship, has some charismatic features that we cannot ignore. Because after all politics is not only result-oriented policies and reforms, but also a big spectacle, whose rules are known only to a few.

Furthermore, the problem is whether Berlusconi’s credibility has been severely or temporarily damaged. Yes, he has been convicted for tax fraud; yes, he has been involved in sex scandals; yes, he has weakened dramatically Italy’s economy; but also “yes” to the fact that he has been an emblematic figure of Italian politics. Otherwise we cannot explain his electoral achievements,, even in a deeply fragmented political system. Above all, the core of the analysis should get focused on the following question: is Berlusconi the only one politician that can question Letto’s policy?

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