Berlusconi’s new prominence casts shadows over Italy’s future

I have written a commentary on Silvio Berlusconi’s comeback and the worrying implications of his prolonged permanence in frontline politics for the future of Italy. It was published today by the GlobalPost, you can click here to read it.

I paste below a couple of extracts:

“During the electoral campaign, Berlusconi’s distinctive mix of charm and propaganda proved crucial in winning the hearts of millions of Italians. He offered an interpretation of current events that appealed to people’s everyday concerns and their desires for change. […] Riding the wave of widespread anti-European sentiments, the tycoon rebranded himself as the enemy of European technocracy. He was now adamantly fighting to restore national pride and bring back economic prosperity. He miraculously managed to present himself both as a potential prime minister of a mainstream government and as an anti-establishment agent provocateur.”

[…]

“While the majority of Italians are critical of Berlusconi’s questionable conduct in private and public affairs, there are others who see him as a victim of judiciary persecution. Why are all these court cases “converging” on Berlusconi? Is Berlusconi the only one to blame for Italy’s endemic corruption?
According to the ex-premier, a select group of judges is abusing the law and advocates the right to undemocratically decide who is and who is not fit for office. His arguments are supported by many ordinary citizens who are weary of the notoriously slow and inefficient judicial system.
There is a real chance that at least one of these trials might produce a final verdict in the next months, possibly banning Berlusconi from public office, or even sending him to jail.”

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