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Return of the Godfather

After being booted out of office amongst a backdrop of sleaze, sex scandals and rumours of corruption, the ‘Godfather’ of Italy Silvio Berlusconi has stepped up his attempts to return to the political limelight.

The 75-year old media mogul has been lurking in the shadows of Italian politics awaiting his chance to return to the limelight. He has openly stepped back into mainstream politics by criticising the countries current unelected technocratic Prime Minister Mario Monti. In his first interview to Italian media since his election defeat last November, Berlusconi attacked Monti’s policy’s and vowed that if he were ever to return to power he would abolish an unpopular tax on homes.

He said the tax on the owner of every house in Italy must be repealed in the same way his government abolished a previous levy in 2008. Avoiding property taxes has been a constant theme for Berlusconi who dominated Italian politics for 17 years until his fall last November. He failed to explain where he would find the €20 billion that the tax currently brings to the government’s coffers.

“The home is a pillar on which every family has the right to base its security for the future,” he said in the interview conducted on a cruise down the Adriatic coast over the weekend for Giornale magazine.

Many traders and market observers are wary over any possible return of Berlusconi, a man who led his country, one of the wealthiest in the Eurozone, to the brink of going the same way as Greece. His government was constantly hit by scandals and he pushed Italy’s borrowing costs to untenable levels.

Berlusconi failed to turn up last Friday for a Rome rally of his PDL party in which many supporters hoped he would throw his hat into the ring. Senior party officials have repeatedly predicted he will be their candidate.

Next year’s elections could prove very dangerous for Italy and the Eurozone in general. It would be a disaster for the country if Berlusconi seized power once more but the Italian people face a dilemma. There are very few candidates popular enough to win the election outright and Mario Monti has ruled himself out from the Prime minister’s post after the election.

To Business leaders Monti is the desired candidate as they believe that the policies he has implemented have saved Italy from sliding into total economic disaster. Under his rule the nation has avoided going the same way as Greece and is in a stronger position than Spain.

One thing is clear for Italy. The country cannot afford to be run by such a controversial figure as Berlusconi, he will surely lead them to economic disaster and could perhaps drag Europe down along with him.

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