Berlusconi plans to be back as a leader.
For months, I have not heard more nonsense from Berlusconi. The good feeling of not hearing more of his stupid “jokes”, as defined by our ex-court jester-Prime Minister, those speeches filled of stupid sentences or rude comments, made me think of a return to real politics and the end of the burlesque show that our political scene became in recent years. The “Cavaliere” (The Knight, for his knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour, which he received in 1977) does not says more nonsense, the North League Party does not insult people all the time, the PD (Democratic Party, Italy’s left-wing biggest party) has stop to talk just about Berlusconi and Mr Di Pietro (leader of left-wing party IdV) does not depress us with his sentences made in his own “Di Pietro’s style” Italian (if you could understand his speeches, you will realised how bad his knowledge of the Italian language is).
My hope of a return of professional politics in my country faded away in the last days
after listening Silvio last comments at the meeting of the PdL- Popolo delle Libertà (The People of Freedom, Berlusconi’s party) youth movements (Giovane Italia) in Fiuggi, with another stupid comments about the euro (“the other states should unite and force Germany to her exit from the euro system”), the scary one about the leadership of the PdL (“I will continue to be the leader of the moderates”) and the shocking one about a new party to be born from the ashes of the PdL (“a party with a name which will have the names of our religion”) . All these comments means one thing: be ready for the “Il Cavaliere Mascarato” comeback into the crazy world of Italian politics.
For those fools, and I know many of them, who last November celebrated the political death of Silvio, I warned them that there was little to celebrate because first, he would never live politics for good; and second, that in one way or the other he would be back and be a protagonist of Italian politics once again.
So here we are, with me that, unfortunately, am right and those who celebrated in November depressed at the idea of his comeback bid.
His possible political plans for the re-entry into politics are so simple and accurate that we should ask to ourself how anyone could have not thought about it last November.
The first plan is simple and can be summarized in four points.
1) Stay in the second line until the people got tired to death of the present government;
2) Send another leader to battle the opponent in the general election and lose the vote;
3) Wait for the centre-left government to crumble as usual after two years due to the crises that is normal in this weak coalition (no one centre-left government has finish its five years mandate), with a consequent tecnhniacal government or new elections;
4) Eliminate the leader of his party who lost the previous elections and establish itself as a new party leader.
The other plan could be inspired by the Italian left-winger MPs, a plan developed by using what I call the “Massimo D’Alema-style”: always managing the party from the second line without damaging your reputation, send the party new rising star or old MP that is getting too powerful, making him losing the general election and get rid of him. Here are some examples.
Romano Prodi. After he resigned as PM in 1998, he was sent into “exile” to Brussels in the European Commission and D’Alema became PM (not voted by the people). In 2006, his return to Palazzo Chigi (the Italian PM office) lasted just over two years and marked the end of his political career.
Francesco Rutelli. Centre-left candidate in the 2001 general elections, lost the fight and was gradually eliminated from the party until he committed his “political suicide” by running for, and losing, the Mayor of Rome seat in 2008. Rutelli run for the city of Rome election because his party member (D’Alema as well?!) nominated him.
Walter Veltroni. The rising star, the future leader, became the candidate of the centre-left for the general elections of 2008, the one after the short-lived second Prodi’s government, and logically lost the election. After several defeats in local elections of 2009 he slowly disappeared from the party executive board.
Those are clear examples of how a politician can be a influent member of a party without damaging he own reputation and Berlusconi could adopt this type of leadership to manage the centre-right coalition in the future.
Now, the questions are: should the PdL still be associated with Silvio? And how many MPs and followers want him in the party?
Angelino Alfano, the party leader is doing his best poker face. He is not publically
against Mr Berlusconi but at the same time he careful to make sure that he is not too often seen with him to avoid being associated as the pupil of the ex-PM. The heavy defeat of The People of Freedom has made it clear to everyone that Silvio has done so much to ruin the party and that a re-styling is needed if the PdL want to have a future. Get rid of the “Cavaliere” and change the old party style is for many a necessary things to do if the “new” PdL want to survive. The introduction of a British-style primary election system and a new party leader (Mr Alfano) that look polite, well-mannered and is not a megalomaniac, are just few of the basic change that the party is making. Will be enough to dissociate this “new” The People of Freedom from the “old” party? The next weeks will show us what direction and strategy will this party adopt.
The question about who wants Silvio to stay as a leader in the party is a bit more complicated. Those who got promoted for their “look” rather then “skills” want Berlusconi to be the party leader in order to keep their job, as well as those of The People of Freedom’s youth organization, but only the ex- Forza Italia (Berlusconi party before PdL) branch, which thanks to years of brainwashing they see in the ex-PM a sort of Messiah.
The Giovane Italia ex-AN (right-wing party that together with Forza Italia created the Popolo delle Libertà) branch, are completely opposed to his return and during the meeting in Fiuggi it was possible to notice the ex-AN shocked reaction after Berlusconi speech.
Other enemies of the “Cavaliere” are all those MPs that in recent years have been removed to make room for “lackeys” or the Northern League MPs (PdL alliance).
Giancarlo Galan is a good example. The MP has never accepted the fact the after 15 years as a President of the Veneto region, his party picked up MP Luca Zaia from Northern League as the candidate for the 2010 Veneto election (he won with a 60% of the vote).
The return of “Il Cavaliere Mascarato” will create an internal battle, in true Russian Communist Party style, that will make victims among the top party MPs and, while the PdL is divided over the “Berlusconi’s issue”, he is “quietly” preparing his great return into Italian politics. A spectacular Silvio-style comeback.