Monday, April 25, 2005

The End of Berlusconism-- Part 2

The crisis of Berlusconi's government has finally been formalized. Berlusconi had to resign on wednesday 21 April, and created a new government as soon as saturday 24 April. This may look like a formality to people non acquainted with italian politics, but it is in fact a very strong symbol of the crisis of Berlusconism, his philosophy of rupture with the past political instability.

Berlusconi centred its innovation along three lines: Political discourse and symbols, transatlantic relations, and constitutional innovations. His major failure, as a result, must be found within those three domains. Firstly, Berlusconi tried to innovate the political discourse and symbols. He was in 1994 the new man, the entrepreneur who promised to refresh Italy with a new liberal breeze. The gap between his discourse and the reality weakened Berlusconi considerably. Secondly, he prioritised transatlantic relations over european bonds, thereby upsetting a considerable portion of the society, which was unambiguously against the war. Thirdly, he initiated constitutional reforms which look insufficient, if not altogether wrong.

Internal tensions within his coalition now seem unbridgeable. The christian democratic hawks are there to monitor any faux pas of Berlusconi. In good traditional style, they are ready to become condors, and eat from the corpse of the dying animal, Silvio Berlusconi.

The ball is now in Prodi' s hands. He has to show that, unlike Berlusconi, he is able to unite his allies around a common political agenda. If Prodi does not learn from this, no left coalition will be there to last and this will be to the detriment of our country.

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