Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The end of the beginning?

Is this the last battle of Silvio Berlusconi? Or rather, one must ask: how the Italian head of government has survived so many troubles, most self-inflicted? The debacle in local elections, confirmed yesterday with the loss of the mayors of Milan and Naples, decimating the ranks of his party, the People of Freedom, casts doubt on the continuity of the coalition partners of the Northern League; and could open a new cycle in the country's political life.

Berlusconi came to power through a variety of reasons. The first was fed with boredom and novelty. Distaste for politics and politicians, I call the Italian Republic, with its Tangentopoli, commissions and charges rinse, and test a new business man, who had made himself but also, could bring healthy change.

The second is that the opposition was not a great alternative. The Communist Party suffered a profound transfiguration that has led to its present incarnation as a left sweep and scrubbing, and were so greased with social diversity and the right in the Old Regime. Finally, the third, the new leader was never the not-going-over election, since it lost two of five national elections, one competitor to as little as exciting as the Democrat Romano Prodi.

But it had to be something else. Italy is a country of reputation rather than the rule of law. The businessman and political problems with the law, but will damage the prestige outside the Republic, were not so unequivocally condemned for the electorate. Mediterranean Catholicism, something that has the sacrament of confession is so skeptical of everything that is seen as a believer in mystery.

That is called faith. Man is born to wander, and if a politician, much more. Therefore, a smaller block of voters had no choice believe that unsubstantiated allegations against the leader of embezzlement, bribery, and any institutional irregularities, or even that there was no deal. The reputation, however, is another matter, especially in the field of tumors, and twice if they affect the opposite sex.

The parties, with the so-called bunga-bunga, where recreational residence without doubt, the accusations, founded or not, promotion of prostitution of girls, and what morals received called "dissipation" of the president of the Council have damaged its image in just one part of the country that was essential as flow of votes.

The Catholic Church itself, which was accepted as a lesser evil, and already divorced twice, in uncharted mercy could hardly continue to support him even tacitly. Seems to be evidence that both Milan and Naples, the Catholic vote has changed horse. Berlusconi and himself had experienced in recent years, a transformation which barred him from what could be expected in a country of Catholic moral reputation, with a kind of insistent denial of age, old age and death, whose summit was the optional declaration of its in-residence, of which more than 70 years was virtually immortal.

But the defeat could mean not only the end of the beginning of his retirement, but something much more serious. Only its position in the institutions had made possible the adoption of laws and other forfeitures defenses that will relieve their caseload, and if it ends up losing its virtual immunity wanes with it.

Although that at all points, however, exemplary punishment. At a recent gathering in Paris correspondents of the major Italian newspapers, not one believed that the beleaguered leader would serve a prison sentence. And all while the renewal of its competitors are moving with the greatest parsimony.

The elected mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia (pronounced Pisapia), is a seasoned professional, but not politics, and great national defender, the governor of Puglia, Nichi Vendola, a former member of Refoundation and, as a Catholic and communist heir the two faiths that have lost more adherents in the last 20 years, is still a relatively minor figure.

The Economist headlined the April 28, 2001: "Why Silvio Berlusconi is unfit to govern", while anathema and political foresight. A decade later the beginning of the end may have begun.

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