Berlusconi is preparing a return to the political scene: Italy needs me

Monza owner Silvio Berlusconi / Photo: EPA-EFE / RICCARDO ANTIMIANI

Prominent Italian businessman and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is preparing a return to the political stage ahead of next month's election, saying such a move would "satisfy everyone".

Berlusconi, due to both good and bad things, enjoys solid popularity in and outside of Italy, and the 85-year-old businessman will not give up his aspirations to return to the throne again, writes "The Guardian".

Although most people his age are enjoying their retirement days, the former Italian prime minister has decided to re-enter the race for Mario Draghi's successor.

"It will make people happy," he told Rai.

"Politico" writes that Berlusconi's popularity has been declining in recent years, and his health problems have forced him to temporarily retire from politics, but Berlusconi says he is now feeling well and is ready for the new elections.

Silvio Berlusconi / Photo: EPA-EFE / ETTORE FERRARI

Berlusconi, who led Italy's government three times, was expelled from the Senate in 2013 and banned from running for six years in general elections after a tax fraud conviction.

His party, Forza Italia, is part of an alliance led by the Brothers of Italy, a party of neo-fascist origins that includes Matteo Salvini's far-right League.

Antonio Tajani, the vice president of Forza Italia, told "Corriere della Sera" that every vote for the "moderate, trustworthy, liberal, pro-European" party is useful because it gives the trio "balance".

Antonio Tajani/ Photo EPA-EFE/GIUSEPPE LAMI

According to polls, this coalition is predicted to win the election, possibly paving the way for Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the Brothers of Italy whose motto is "God, country and family", to become the country's first female prime minister.

"The Italian right has left fascism behind since decades ago, unequivocally condemning the suppression of democracy and shameful anti-Jewish laws," she said.

Giorgia Meloni/ Photo EPA-EFE/FABIO FRUSTACI

The returnee

Despite dominating Italian politics and the media for two decades, not so long ago it seemed that Berlusconi's political career was about to end, Politico writes.

After the scandals with "bunga bungaparties, his image took a heavy hit in the Italian public.

But the unexpected growth of nationalist populism in the past decade has given Berlusconi an opportunity to play a pro-EU role, Politico writes.

He was elected to the European Parliament in 2019, although he rarely attended the vote. Last year, his political "rehabilitation" appeared complete after he joined a grand coalition led by former European Central Bank president Mario Draghi.

But last month, apparently sensing a change in the political winds, he joined other coalition partners in ending the the reign of Draghi, forcing early elections. Three ministers from the Government of Draghi  resigned from the Forza Italia party, saying that he is "irresponsible" and puts party interests before the country.

Mario Draghi and Silvio Berlusconi / Photo Fotogramma / Zuma Press / Profimedia

"Deeply disappointed" by Putin

Berlusconi recently said he was "deeply disappointed and saddened" by the behavior of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was a close ally of Berlusconi's when he was in power.

While prime minister, Berlusconi claimed to have worked to improve relations between Russia and the West. The NATO-Russia agreement of 2002, in Rome, "could have started an era in which Russia became a partner and a reliable interlocutor," Berlusconi said.

Putin and Berlusconi / Photo: EPA PHOTO ITAR TASS POOL

According to Berlusconi, it is the leftists whose loyalty is questionable, as their coalition includes a far-left party that voted against Sweden and Finland joining NATO.

"We are pro-European, pro-Western, pro-NATO, with liberal democracy as the only point of reference," Berlusconi said. He added that he "will not take part in any government if he is not absolutely sure of its "democratic correctness, sense of responsibility and loyalty to Europe and the West".

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