Our biggest fear has come true. Today Angelino Alfano, who technically is the “leader” of Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party (as if we did not know who the real leader is), announced that the party will not hold a primary election because Berlusconi is going to run. The reason? A few days ago, Berlusconi himself claimed that he might run “because Italy needs change”.
Does he really need an introduction?
Please let’s take a moment to fully appreciate this statement. Italy needs change. Ergo, the guy that has run for premiership already six times and has dominated Italian politics for almost two decades will run again. This is the funniest joke I have ever heard.
Over the last months, Berlusconi changed his mind about a million times. “I will run for Italy”, “I will take a step back”, “Italy needs me”, “I will leave the party in Alfano’s hands”.
Then, the jail sentence for tax fraud came (see one of my older posts). Back then, he said “I will now retire from politics”.
Shortly after, he changed his mind again: “I will run so that I can change Italian justice”. Thank you Silvio, but what you still seem to forget is that you and “justice” simply cannot appear in the same sentence.
And now it seems official. Alfano said that if Berlusconi runs, there is no need for a primary election. He simply is the undisputed boss.
I could write pages and pages about the outrageous fact that everywhere else in a democracy a politician who has a jail sentence and another bunch of trials going on would be banned by every party, let alone run for premiership. Unfortunately, it does not even surprise me anymore that such a thing is allowed in Italy. I simply use a double standard. In the UK, Andrew Mitchell resigned because he insulted a policeman; in Italy, Berlusconi will run because he was found guilty of a crime and he wants to take revenge.
Two parallel universes.
One more hilarious thing about the need of change in Italy: also for the main left-wing party, the Democratic Party, the candidate will be again the current party leader, Pier Luigi Bersani. But at least, he will run because he won the primary election against Matteo Renzi, mayor of Florence.
I will discuss the outstanding Democratic Party primary election in my next post, so stay tuned.