Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"political analysts agree that the only sure bet in Italy’s coming and critical March 4 elections is that [Silvio] Berlusconi will return as a major force in Italian, and possibly European, politics"


Even if he will not be prime minister immediately (he is barred until next year following a fraud conviction), he is likely to be the kingmaker.

His resurrection is both astonishing and entirely unsurprising when one considers that Mr. Berlusconi has over the decades conditioned and desensitized an electorate that has picked him as prime minister three times despite, well, everything.

He has been investigated over accusations of mob links. He entered politics in part to protect his vast business interests and then, as the owner of the majority of Italy’s commercial television stations, used his sprawling media empire to stay in power. He hosted underage women at what he called “elegant dinners” but what the world knew as sex-fueled Bunga Bunga bacchanals. He made a habit of embarrassing Italy on the global stage.

And yet