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Amanpour explains: 77-year-old disgraced Berlusconi turns Italy into a political Circus Maximus

October 2nd, 2013
08:36 AM ET

By Lucky Gold, CNN

In case you thought the United States was the only country flailing, and failing, at governing itself, imagine a world where the government can fall at the whim of a 77-year-old convict.

Italy, which held its umpteenth election just nine months ago, teeters on the brink of political chaos yet again, following a power play by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

This past weekend, five members of Berlusconi's "People of Liberty” party – a name only George Orwell could love – withdrew from the fragile coalition government, forcing a vote of confidence on Wednesday.

In a dramatic about-face, Berlusconi announced on Wednesday that his party would support Prime Minister Enrico Letta in the confidence vote.

Berlusconi, the septuagenarian Caesar who refuses to fall on his sword, lays the blame on a proposed increase in Italy’s value-added tax.

Still others say he crossed the Rubicon to prevent a vote that could banish him from the senate – after he was sentenced to jail for tax fraud.

In the ignoble tradition of the Emperor Caligula, who made his horse a roman senator, Berlusconi has once again turned the Italian government into a three-ring political Circus Maximus.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Imagine a World • Italy • Latest Episode
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. driuorno

    L'ha ribloggato su BABAJIe ha commentato:
    Add your thoughts here... (optional)

    October 2, 2013 at 9:38 am | Reply
  2. Francesco

    Dear writer, you forgot to say that Silvio Berlusconi has 10 million votes with him. Of course it is a small particular.

    October 2, 2013 at 10:00 am | Reply
    • luigiduca

      Yes, in his wallet...
      10 millions among more than 40 millions voters, shame enough for our Country, but far from majority.

      Pigs are more equals, aren't they?

      October 2, 2013 at 11:07 am | Reply
      • Sal

        Well, almost as far as the first party and still less far from majority than the 5S Party (this letter was ranked 3rd).

        October 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Matteo

      Since when 10 million votes put a person above the law, or justify in any way the political delirium we are living in these hours?

      October 2, 2013 at 11:16 am | Reply
    • Enrico C.

      And that means 40 million Italians did not vote him, instead ...

      October 2, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Reply
    • Sal

      Well written, body !

      October 2, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  3. fabrizio dream operator

    Problem is not Berlusconi, problem are the Democratics (PD). They're like him but media hiding them since 20 years ago.
    we're a great country, very good people, unfortunately we're governed by crooks and scoundrels.
    dear Cnn, let's talk about Grillo, our last hope.
    bye

    October 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Reply
    • Marlies

      Fabrizio,,, You dont have a future with Beppe "Burn Baby Burn!" Grillo as well, he's another clown with a flame thrower threatening to burn everything to the ground, give your current PM a chance.

      October 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Reply
    • federico

      I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU, THE PROBLEM WITH OUR COUNTRY IS ABOUT ALL OUR POLITICIANS, I'M READING A LOT OF COMMENTS BY PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING AND STILL WANT TO COMMENT ABOUT SILVIO, HE'S ONLY ONE.... THE PROBLEM ARE THE HUNDREDS REMAINING IN GOVERNMENT LEFT CENTRE OR RIGHT WING DOESN'T CARE THEY ARE ALL CORRUPTED...

      October 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  4. Sal

    Comparing Berlusconi to Caligula is biasing and unfair.
    This guy loves his country more than anybody else. But for this reason he can't accept that inside the governing coalition the leftist allies are not able to keep their word: NOT TO RAISE TAXES. How would the American citizens would feel to pay 22% of sales tax ?
    Also he can't accept that too many judges are politically sided and convicted him without enough evidence: an incredible shame for a Western industrialized country where the 5th highest national tax-payer has been found guilty for tax fraud.
    On the other side this idealistic man who has always given very great value to friendship and fairness, has naively presumed that running his party was like running his old business. Unfortunately it was not so.

    October 2, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  5. Laurent

    It's a shame that a convicted old siliconeted old fascist is not in jail . Middle class have to pay taxes but him .Middle class have to obey laws but him.Young people are escaping Italy to find out a job with a good wage .If in Italy the only prospect : to be a veline (kind of go-go TV girls dancer) . Big money and his wealth don't even avoid him senile dementia ,but such a kind of old Diva behaviour is destroying all country .

    October 2, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  6. W

    Whatever, really not a big deal. Corruption is everywhere and yes, Italy has a corrupted Parliament where a lot of people sell themselves just to sit in again in the next election. But the point is just another one: how could a neo-feudal system of check&balance to rule one of the richest countries of the world? (G8, third european economy) No future for Italy, just barely surviving until the abandon of the white neck mafia.

    October 2, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Reply
  7. DEBORAH

    This guy loves his country so much that he has never lowered the taxes in 20 years!!!
    He fights for the abolition of a tax called IMU – a tax we have to pay for the possession of our houses – that sounds good....people only wants to ear that and believe he's a good politician but they don't study the effect of this abolition – the raise of the taxes on the paycheck or other bad thing –
    It's better to let your voters ignorant they'll follow you no matter what!!!!!

    October 4, 2013 at 5:01 am | Reply
  8. Filippo

    everyone has their presidents it deserves. I do not think that the last American presidents (Nixon. Clinton – Bush junior) have been paragons of virtue ....

    October 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Reply

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