Italy’s Next Government Hinges on a Familiar Face: Silvio Berlusconi?
The man who dominated politics in Italy for almost three decades as prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, came close to leaving office for the first time Tuesday, after his right-wing coalition won a substantial parliamentary majority in elections Sunday.
His political career will come to an end after he has presided over just over a year in office, and with his current coalition partner, the populist, anti-establishment 5Star Movement, set to have an overall majority in the next national legislature, Berlusconi can still be toppled by his own coalition if it begins the process of removing him.
In other words, he could be pushed out in his own party’s interest.
Berlusconi has already served two decades in power, but has been in a power struggle within the ruling center-left since May, after he was voted out of office amid a political crisis that threatened to shake Italy’s economic foundations.
At times, Berlusconi seemed to be on the verge of leaving office, but with his parliamentary coalition still far from the 61 seats needed to govern, Berlusconi seemed to be holding off until he could find a way to break the coalition, a scenario that would take him out of the spotlight for what many analysts saw as a key period in Italy’s economic and political recovery.
The next five years will be interesting ones for the country, as Italy heads into a period of rapid change with a newly elected Italian government, and Berlusconi’s coalition partners — 5 Star — seeking to make their mark in the same way his did in the 1990s.
After two years of negotiations, Berlusconi could be forced from power by his coalition partner, the 5Star Movement, and with Italy’s new center-left government beginning to take shape, Berlusconi may never be able to escape the power of his old party and the influence of the media he has dominated.
However, Italy’s electoral map could change in the next year, with a group of parties expected to form a