Silvio Berlusconi: The actor died, the farce continues | International

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Silvio Berlusconi never fooled anyone. The Italians – who, instead of being born, make their debut on the oldest and most beautiful stage – immediately realized that this guy with the risers in his shoes, an eternal tan and the air of an old-fashioned gallant was not a politician, but a willing actor. to the great challenge of representing, in full view, a part of the soul of Italy. The writer Andrea Camilleri explained it like this: “Italians recognize themselves in him. When they see a guy who is charged so many times and is never convicted because the crime expires or because the law changes in his favor, people think: how clever, how great, I want to be like him”.

The entrance to the show that Berlusconi proposed to the Italians was not cheap ―it consisted of multiplying his own fortune at the rate of his power, using television to give legal status to all his legal and moral excesses―, but the show was worth it, fed up as they were with old formulas and distant leaders. And they paid. A bill such that entire generations - of Italians, but also of Europeans - will take time to settle. The seed of populism that he sowed in politics - the vulgar, the rude, the open-air impudence, the unapologetic lie - has already become a plague for which, for the moment, there is no remedy; a franchise with branches open halfway around the world, on both sides of the political spectrum.

It is not good to forget what happened, and why, at ten o'clock on Saturday November 12, 2011, Silvio Berlusconi submitted his resignation, but not because he had lost his parliamentary majority or because the judges, who were already stepping on his checks for tax offenses and induction into the prostitution of minors, managed to hunt him down. He only agreed to leave after the European Union and the markets asked the then President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, for his head in exchange for reaching out to a bankrupt Italy. The tycoon who came to the Government in 1994 and forever became a fundamental piece of Italian politics was not defeated by reason, but by interest. From Europe he was asking for his resignation and his own: his business interests were so high that the crash of the Italian economy could also become his ruin. Even that defeat knew how to make it seem like a noble gesture. The actor who had dressed up as a clown so many times adopted the pose of a statesman.

That Saturday night, Berlusconi finally stepped aside and accepted that the technocrat Monti formed an emergency government, but he soon overcame his disgust and warned his people: “Don't worry. We can unplug this government from the respirator as soon as we want.” The conclusion is clear, then and also now: politics -in the good sense of the word: decent leaders, credible proposals and a sensible program that is not devoid of hope- was never able to put Silvio Berlusconi's populist project on the ropes.

The success of his function is that he will be dismissed with a state funeral presided over by Giorgia Meloni, one of his best students. The actor died, the farce continues.

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