David Blackburn

The Italian Right prepares for life without Berlusconi

The Italian Right prepares for life without Berlusconi
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Silvio Berlusconi has said that he’s "the most persecuted man in the history of the world and the history of men", despite having "spent millions on judges", before checking himself and saying “lawyers”. Now I can think of several other candidates for this unfortunate accolade, but there’s no doubt that the loss of his immunity has left Berlusconi on the rack and facing imminent legal proceedings. Even if Berlusconi starts spending millions on judges it’s unlikely to save his political career.

If Patrizia D'Addario’s more sordid disclosures are credible then Berlusconi is used to a little persecution, but the Right in Italy is not used to life without Berlusconi. Berlusconi’s success rested on his ability to unite the Right behind Forza Italia. The collapse of Romano Prodi’s centre left coalition government in February 2008 suggests that the Right remains the marginally superior force in Italian politics. If Berlusconi falls, it remains to be seen if a figure can emerge to replace his political and financial gravitas.