The Capo di Tutti Capi Returns


According to the Italian media's notoriously unreliable exit-poll data, Silvio Berlusconi and the center-right "Freedom Coalition" he heads is set to again take the reigns of power, with a projected majority of seats in the chamber of deputies and the senate, and Berlusconi becoming prime minister for the third time. The Times of London has the details, and, for good measure, includes a photo of the leather-faced former PM giving his best Don Fanucci-cum-Mussolini wave to supporters of his People of Freedom Party. According to Italian media reports, the coalition defeated a left-center bloc led by the former Mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, a former communist party member who was heartily (and bizarrely) endorsed by George Clooney.

For my money, The Economist has done the best job over the years of exposing the buffoonish Berlusconi as corrupt in both business and politics (charges which led the former PM to sue the magazine in Italian court). As expected, they are again throwing darts, reminding us of his more recent gaffes:

Most of Mr Berlusconi's jests have been either silly (the claim that he spoke Latin well enough to have lunch with Julius Caesar) or sexist in a way that did not seem to damage him (his view that right-wing women were better-looking than lefties). But on April 8th, a more sinister side re-emerged when Mr Berlusconi said that state prosecutors, like those who have been chasing him through the courts since the early 1990s, should undergo periodic mental-health checks. His main rival, Walter Veltroni of the centre-left Democratic Party, demanded an assurance of Mr Berlusconi's loyalty to state institutions.