Feature

Italy: Why Silvio is on his way out

It is now abundantly clear that the voters have had enough, said Bill Emmott in The Times.

Bill Emmott
The Times (U.K.)

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is finished, said Bill Emmott. For years, the gaffe-prone billionaire has been battered by corruption charges and sex scandals, but he always managed to keep his political base. No more. He has not only lost his immunity from prosecution, forcing him to stand in court and answer the many indictments against him, but also now suffered important losses in local elections.

Last week, in “a political earthquake,” his coalition partner, the Northern League, saw its support collapse in its northern Italian strongholds. Even its appeal to xenophobes could not save it from voters’ disgust with Berlusconi’s government. Still more humiliating was the outcome of the mayoral race in Milan, Berlusconi’s “home base and the heartland of his business support.” Berlusconi personally campaigned for his party’s candidate, but the woman lost to a leftist Berlusconi had called a terrorist.

It is now abundantly clear that the voters have had enough. Most Italian observers believe that the Northern League will pull out of the government within a few weeks, triggering new elections that Berlusconi will lose. “He is a political vegetable, unable to do anything of any importance beyond fighting his own legal cases.”

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