Italy pauses to bid farewell to Berlusconi with a state funeral
Italy stopped this Wednesday at three in the afternoon, when Silvio Berlusconi's coffin entered the Milan cathedral to be fired with the highest honors, along with his entire dynasty and the country's highest political representatives. It is the ceremony that the magnate, a figure involved in controversy until his last days, wanted: a state funeral. That is, among other things, paid for by the Government. A possibility to which they are entitled, by the Italian Constitution, all those who have been heads of the Executive, and Berlusconi was on three occasions.
Most who were in this situation did not opt for this option. There has been some criticism of the choice of format. But above all to the fact that the Government of Giorgia Meloni has declared national mourning and that today the flags continue at half mast. Giuseppe Conte, leader of the 5 Star Movement (M5E), a party founded against the principles of Berlusconism, did not want to participate in the funeral. Yes, Elly Schlein, the new leader of the Democratic Party (PD), the main opposition, has done it. Former leftist minister Rosy Bindi has lamented that an "inappropriate sanctification" of the figure of Il Cavaliere. The rector of the Siena University for Foreigners, Tomaso Montanari, has refused to comply with the order to lower the flags, saying that his center would lose all "educational and moral credibility" if it did so.
Three days after his death, at the age of 86, the funeral began with the chants at the doors of the cathedral by the fans of Milan, a team that he presided over, winning five Champions Cups until he sold it in 2017 in one of the most difficult decisions of your life. "We all walk with the soul of Berlusconi," said a Rai commentator as the coffin entered the cathedral escorted by six police officers dressed in gala and followed by the five children of Silvio Berlusconi, Marina, Pier Silvio, Barbara, Eleonora and Luigi Berlusconi. Outside, thousands of followers proclaimed slogans against communism, following the mass on giant screens installed by Mediaset. At least three people have passed out from the heat.
The offspring had wanted to publicly say goodbye to their father with a message published today in the country's main newspapers that read: “Sweet dad, thanks for life, thanks for love. You will always live within us. One step behind them walked Marta Fascina, the 33-year-old deputy who was his last partner, crying inconsolably. In the cathedral she sat in the front row next to Berlusconi's eldest daughter and right eye, her daughter Marina, key to managing the enormous business empire –valued at 6,000 million euros– and political Il Cavaliere. Behind them was his second ex-wife, Veronica Lario, with her grandchildren.
In the Duomo of Milan were the highest authorities of the country. Beginning with the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, and the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, who was Berlusconi's minister and whom many see as her natural political heir. Now he lives with concern about the fate of Forza Italia, given the risk that the right-wing formation will not survive its founder and the coalition that has governed Italy since October will lose troops. Much depends on how long the mogul's number two in the party, Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani, also foreign minister, is able to retain. Berlusconi never named a political dolphin and these days many were looking to former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who was also in the cathedral, whom the Cayman held in high esteem. He has already rejected that he is going to be the "royal baby".
Most of the large European countries, including Spain, have chosen to send their ambassadors to Rome as representatives. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on mission in Latin America, has delegated the Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni, who was also Italian Prime Minister. Nor did the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán want to miss it, who was accompanied by other international leaders such as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani. The leader of the European People's Party, Manfred Weber, has also traveled to bid farewell to a man with a "desire for life, love and happiness", as the Archbishop of Milan, Mario Delpini, said in his homily.
After the funeral, Berlusconi's mortal remains will be cremated and transferred to his residence in Arcore, on the northern outskirts of Milan, where they will most likely be placed in the marble mausoleum that was built underground with a special sarcophagus for him. and another thirty spaces reserved for his closest relatives and some of his collaborators, such as former senator Marcello dell'Utri or who was his right-hand man on television, Emilio Fede. The mayor of Arcore had warned that it would be difficult to be buried there due to legal issues, but opting for cremation would already have avoided these problems. Another option is to decide on the chapel of this town.
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