Feature

Will Silvio Berlusconi ever give up?

Italy's prime minister shrugs it off when a high court overturns a law protecting him from corruption charges

It was "a bad day for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi," said The New York Times in an editorial, when Italy's highest court on Wednesday "overturned an outrageous law" granting Berlusconi immunity from prosecution while in office. But it was "a good day for Italian democracy," because no nation can afford to have its justice system hijacked to shield one man from corruption charges.

My money's still on Berlusconi, said Fortune's Stanley Bing in The Huffington Post. The drive that made him rich helps him brush off setbacks that would destroy lesser politicians. "Sex scandals? He eats them for breakfast. Allegations of impropriety? It's all a Rupert Murduochian plot!" And his reaction the the threat of prosecution? Berlusconi simply accused the court of liberal bias and vowed to "govern for five more years with or without the law."

Berlusconi's response definitely shows Italy's troubles are far from over, said Paul Taylor in Reuters. The prime minister arrogantly told his countrymen, "Without Silvio, the country would be in the hands of the left"—which sounded eerily like Richard Nixon's parting, "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore." Beware when powerful politicians start referring to themselves in the third person—in the cases of Nixon and Berlusconi, both believe they were "victims of persecution," and acted like their power was meant to be "used implacably against enemies."

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