He’s back: Silvio Berlusconi kicks off his bid for the Italian presidency

Former Italian prime minister undaunted by health, sex scandals and advanced age Silvio Berlusconi is persistently pursuing a promise he once made to his mother: that one day he would become president.

Parliament will choose a new head of state early next year and the 85-year-old is the first to set himself up for a race that could change the course of Italian politics but has no official candidate.

Significant obstacles lie in his way, but he is pushing himself with a passion that has helped him win three parliamentary elections and become Italylongest serving after the war.

“I met him twice in the last two weeks and he was completely fired,” said a lawmaker from Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, who asked to remain anonymous.

However, the billionaire media mogul is a controversial figure.

He was temporarily barred from public office after being found guilty of tax fraud in 2013, and is still on trial in the latest series of cases for bribing witnesses in a prostitution case. teen involved his infamous “Bunga Bunga” sex parties with more than a decade ago.

Analysts believe such a divisive personality makes it difficult to gather the broad support needed to elect a president who acts as a problem solver in Italian politics and often called upon, like the incumbent Sergio Mattarella, to resolve the government stalemate.

Consensus between the parties is especially important at the moment, as almost all the main parties put aside their differences to join Mario Draghi’s coalition of national unity, created to help Italy overcome through the coronavirus crisis.

Enrico Letta, leader of the center-left Democratic Party (PD), has ruled out supporting Berlusconi.

He said that the presidential election “must be based on a majority … otherwise the government will immediately collapse”.

Despite this, Mr. Berlusconi is continuing to carry out his unofficial election campaign, presenting himself as an experienced statesman of European politics.

Candidates running for president often don’t announce their congressional elections. However, Berlusconi’s name has been constantly splashed in the media, and he’s not trying to downplay speculation that he wants the job.

When asked about his presidential prospects at a conference in October, he said: “I think Silvio Berlusconi can be useful to the country … I will not back down and I will do what my country does. need.”

In November, he sent a collection of his speeches and policy priorities to nearly 1,000 MPs, who will elect the president, pledging to adhere to a list of liberal values ​​in an effort to open up widen his appeal.

In an abrupt turn, he also praised the top citizen income welfare plan of his arch-enemy, the Five Star Movement, which he previously likened to the communist party. .

A winning candidate needs two-thirds of the votes, but if no one hits that target in the first three rounds, this drops to 50 percent of the votes plus one.

If all lawmakers in the center-right bloc vote for him, and it’s a big “if”, Mr Berlusconi will still need at least 50 more votes to make him head of state – something he will do. must secure from a group of 113 unaffiliated legislators.

With the maths seemingly daunting, some analysts believe Mr. Berlusconi was simply hoping to gain leverage to position himself to act like a king.

As Lorenzo De Sio, head of the Italian center for electoral studies at LUISS university in Rome, puts it, “he has no bargaining power if he himself is not deemed just.”

Reuters He’s back: Silvio Berlusconi kicks off his bid for the Italian presidency


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