Elections in Italy: A Berlusconi in low hours launches his last political battle: “Now he seeks to vindicate himself and, in some way, take revenge” | International

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The Briantheus bellows with joy. The 18,000 fans who pack the stadium do not quite believe it: Monza, first season in Serie A, last in the standings with zero wins, has just beaten Juventus. “At last they listened to me, the previous style of play was wrong,” proclaims Silvio Berlusconi, who, much like him, takes credit for the win. Berlusconi, once owner of the almighty Milan, today must settle for owning little Monza. It could be a metaphor for the decline of The Cavalierefinancially as powerful as ever, politically weaker than ever.

Monza is in the heart of what we might call Berlusconiaa large territory northeast of Milan that, partly thanks to the tycoon, concentrates much of Italy’s prosperity.

Here, in Segrate, is Milano Due, the enormous urbanization that Berlusconi built between 1970 and 1980 and from whose cable television, a local station that barely broadcast anything other than masses and neighborhood meetings, Canale 5 emerged, a founding piece of Mediaset. Here, in Cologno, is the headquarters of Mediaset, with its 5,000 employees. Here in Legnate is the Mondadori publishing empire. And here, in Arcore, is Villa San Martino, the fabulous residence that Berlusconi bought in 1974, with very bad arts and for a ridiculous price, from a naive orphaned young aristocrat, advised by a lawyer, Cesare Previti, who actually worked for The Cavaliere.

In the stadium everyone seems to love Berlusconi, who in 2018 bought Monza for less than three million euros and, after investing more than 50 million in transfers, achieved promotion to Serie A last year. Many, in addition to loving him, They say they know him. One, the truck driver Giulio, because he transported a piece of furniture to Arcore’s villa. Another, the taxi driver Massimiliano, because he frequently transfers Mondadori executives from Legnate to the villa. Both will vote on it on Sunday. “The Cavaliere he will put order in the right-wing coalition and keep his senses, the fascists will have to obey him”, assures Massimiliano.

Polls indicate otherwise. Within the right-wing coalition, the neo-fascist Brothers of Italy aspire to win Sunday’s elections with up to 25% of the vote. Matteo Salvini’s League, pure extreme right, can obtain more than 12%. Forza Italia, the third leg of the coalition and alleged bastion of common sense and Europeanism (the irony of history), is around 8%. Berlusconi’s party will constitute the weakest flank of the probable ultra government. How to impose good sense from weakness?

More important than the polls are the facts. And the facts overshadow the figure of Silvio Berlusconi, who will turn 86 on September 29. The Cavaliere He has been a candidate nine times and three times President of the Council of Ministers. He drags 36 judicial processes, several of them still in progress: he usually alleges depression or illness to obtain postponements. His health is what it is: he has survived cancer, open heart surgery and covid and has to be hospitalized from time to time.

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Failure in his attempt to preside over the Republic

At the beginning of the year he wanted to be president of the Republic and failed miserably. His no to the Government of Mario Draghi, last July, made many leaders and militants leave Forza Italia. Berlusconi is the political shadow of himself.

The man, however, does his best to maintain genius and figure. In March he got engaged – with a ceremony that had everything of a wedding, except the wedding – with Marta Fascina, 33, a former employee in the Milan press service. Fascina has been gifted with a secure spot on a Sicilian Forza Italia ticket. It is difficult not to feel embarrassment (or an attack of hilarity) with Berlusconi’s electoral messages through the TikTok social network, in which, addressing young women, he proclaims himself more handsome than anyone and, addressing young people, asks them The vote. And he makes it clear: “Don’t worry, not your girlfriends’ phone.”

Why is Berlusconi launching himself into this latest battle, in such conditions of personal and political fragility? Is the goal, as always, to protect the business empire from him? Alan Friedman, a prestigious American and Italian journalist who in 2015 published a long series of interviews with Berlusconi under the title My Way (a documentary based on the book can be seen on Netflix), he considers that this is no longer the case: “What he is looking for now is to vindicate himself and, in some way, take revenge.”

“In 2013, Berlusconi was ignominiously expelled from the Senate for fraud [hoy es eurodiputado] and aspires to erase that offense,” says Friedman. “He dreams of returning, of regaining power. But reality says otherwise: it is getting weaker every day. He is reaching the end of the breakaway, ”adds the journalist.

Friedman remembers that, 10 years ago, Berlusconi boasted of having stopped the rise of fascism in Italy. In fact, it was he who, in 1994, introduced the National Alliance ministers into the Government, the name adopted by the political heirs of Benito Mussolini at the time. The man who claimed to have stopped fascism is being eaten by it. “We can count on the likely new government to be racist, xenophobic, anti-abortion, anti-European, and Berlusconi will be powerless to stop it,” Friedman explains. “But more than that,” adds Berlusconi’s biographer, “I fear the incompetence of a government that can lead Italy to economic ruin and social disaster.”

Silvio Berlusconi enters the twilight. But the old snake charmer is still there. And seeing the miracle of Sunday, when the little Monza created by The Cavaliere beat the powerful Juventus, listening to the clamor of the fans and the praise of his own, no one can rule out that, unlikely as it may seem, Berlusconi pulls one last rabbit out of the hat.

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