Berlusconi: The Greatest Comeback Since Lazarus?

Only in Italy... exit polls suggest Silvio Berlusconi’s political comeback took an important step forward in the Sicilian elections on Sunday. Expulsion from public office, tax fraud, sex scandals and open heart surgery cannot stop 81-year old Silvio playing a major role in Italy’s political circus. Berlusconi campaigned hard in Sicily and Nello Musumeci, backed by center-right parties, including Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy!), is expected to win when vote counting takes place today. The governing center-left party was beaten into third place behind the populist 5-Star party. According to Reuters.

The center-left, led by Matteo Renzi’s ruling Democratic Party, looked certain to finish a distant third after internal feuding wrecked its chances of retaining power on the Mediterranean island that it had governed since 2012.


RAI state television said Nello Musumeci, backed by center-right parties, including Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy!), would win between 35 percent and 39 percent of the vote.


The 5-Star’s Giancarlo Cancelleri was seen taking between 33 and 37 percent.


Another exit poll for private broadcaster La 7 put Musumeci on 36-40 percent and Cancelleri on 34-38 percent.


The center-left’s Fabrizio Micari was seen 20 points behind the frontrunner in both surveys, followed by Claudio Fava, the candidate of a cluster of left-wing parties.


The vote count will begin on Monday at 8 a.m (0700 GMT) and Musumeci’s lead is inside the pollsters’ margin of error.

This was Berlusconi campaigning with Nello Musumeci, courtesy of the FT.

Musumeci served as a junior labour minister under Berlusconi and campaigned on job creation, better use of EU funds and voters’ frustration with the long-standing mafia connections in Sicilian politics.

Berlusconi aside, the Sicilian elections are significant as they are viewed as a useful barometer for next year’s Italian General election. While there seems little doubt that the result will be a hung parliament, it looks increasingly like the center-right coalition, which Berlusconi is instrumental in developing, will win the most seats. From the FT.

The vote in Sicily, a region of more than 5m people, marks a key test of the political winds in Italy ahead of a general election due as early as March 2018, and had drawn all the top party leaders to the island in recent weeks for campaign rallies...


Gianfranco Micciché, one of Mr Berlusconi’s closest allies in Sicily, was already speaking triumphantly.


“Six months ago everyone took for granted that Five Star would win. We did a miracle,” he said.


The strong result for Mr Musumeci is likely to encourage Mr Berlusconi to strengthen his alliance with Matteo Salvini, the leader of the anti-immigrant, anti-euro Northern League, and Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, ahead of the next election.

Sicily looks like being a setback for 5-Star, even though it is expected to win more votes than any other single party. Forza Italia is expected to poll second with less than half the seats. 5-Star had been hoping that Sicily would see it win power in one of Italy’s regions for the first time. To that end, new leader, Luigi Di Maio, had campaigned energetically on the island since the Summer.

For the center-left and former Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, this was a striking, but not unexpected defeat.  As the FT explains.

Lorenzo Guerini, a top official in the PD, said that his party was looking at a “widely expected, yet clear and undeniable defeat”.


But Mr Renzi will also face pressure to patch up his relations with the Italian left if he wants to compete with the centre-right and the Five Star in 2018. Since Mr Renzi took over the party in late-2013, he has faced heavy resistance to his reformist agenda from within the party, which led to a series of damaging defections from left wing dissidents this year.

Nationally, the PD is just behind 5-Star, which has 28% support. In the center-right bloc, Forza Italia and the anti-immigrant, Northern League, have 14% each, while the far-right Brothers of Italy have 5%. As media outlets emphasised, much of the Sicilian election campaign focused on the personalities of those involved, rather than the “big issues”, like the economy, jobs and immigration. Ironically, we suspect that Mr Berlusconi will revel in such a situation if it continues in the upcoming national election campaign. Besides cementing the alliance between his Forza Italia, Brothers of Italy and the Northern League, we will be watching as Berlusconi seeks to overturn the ban on his running for public office. Berlusconi, of course, denies any wrongdoing.


LetThemEatRand Tue, 11/07/2017 - 02:18 Permalink

Sheeple goin' to sheep.  Bahaa.  Bahaa.  Next thing you know they will take our money to protect us with weapons we are not allowed to know about because they are "classified," and build camps for us to keep us safe.

Golden Showers Tue, 11/07/2017 - 02:40 Permalink

Lazarus? like the mall that started in Columbus, Ohio and shot out the Limited from it's cave creating Bexley Ohio and later Whitehall and Les Wexner that created Jeff Epstein Lazarus, with some kids doing some movies for Wexner and going to professional childrens' school in NYC kind of wexner lazarus people?Or are we talking about the Lazarus in the bible?I worked for a minute and this crazy bitch wanted me to throw out her husbands Harvard MBA diploma. I hid it.I'm just saying but somehow I'm so extremely stupid. I hid his golf trophies too. In the bowells of it. I hid this man's MBA and his kid went to school with Macaulay Culkin, and Wednesday from the Adams Family films.Crazy bitch called her daughter from the Upper East Side said her tits exploded and the silicone was in her blood stream and was going to kill her. Imagine. Back in 95.Does this help?

Easyp Tue, 11/07/2017 - 02:57 Permalink

He has to keep going, he knows too much, the day the police catch up with him his friends will arrange an accident involving a swimming pool.....

Ghordius Tue, 11/07/2017 - 03:08 Permalink

Berlusconi is an excellent example for the european "Not Applicable" status of the usual ZH bi-polar discussions based on "White Hats vs Black Hat" politics in the US

Berlusconi is still:

- a BFF of Russia and Putin
- a leader of a party of the Center-Right, of Conservatives
- a media tycoon engaged in eternal battle against the Murdochs for market share in Italy
- hated by the English language "economic elite liberal press" like The Economist and the FT, eternally vilified by the British right-wing tabloids and the Center-Left highbrow British press
- often an ally of Far Right parties against the Italian Left and Far Left
- arguably the most pro-biz leader of Italy
- arguably a populist... when it suits him (sometimes against the EUR, then for it, then back)
- arguably a kind of fore-runner of Mr. Trump in some details
- and, most importantly for me, a "typical Italian" in the sense that nearly every Italian family I know has at least one member that somehow talks like him. this has to be taken strongly in account if you are not familiar with Italians

disclaimer: I supported the Early Berlusconi, I defended the Middle Berlusconi, I could not hold to the Late Berlusconi, and now I'll watch the Reborn Berlusconi with interest and some hope

LetThemEatRand Ghordius Tue, 11/07/2017 - 03:23 Permalink

"Berlusconi is an excellent example for the european 'Not Applicable' status of the usual ZH bi-polar discussions based on 'White Hats vs Black Hat' politics in the US.....  disclaimer: I supported the Early Berlusconi, I defended the Middle Berlusconi, I could not hold to the Late Berlusconi, and now I'll watch the Reborn Berlusconi with interest and some hope"Who are you calling bi-polar?  I can forgive the early support, but like those who still support Trump, how can you justify supporting him at all once you realized that he's just an oligarch playing politics?   It's okay because he is Italian?

In reply to by Ghordius

Ghordius LetThemEatRand Tue, 11/07/2017 - 03:36 Permalink

for me, you are taking the "Trump similarity" too far, here. this besides the fact that I have no idea if I would have been able to support Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, had I been a US elector

oligarch? actually, the word implies you have your own little army. examples for such creatures elsewhere abound, on this planet. Mr. B is not among them

yes, he is rich and powerful. no, that was never a reason for me to support or defend him. meanwhile, as an entrepreneur myself, I defend the right of us entrepreneurs to seek office, too. we are Citizens, too

let's agree on "Tycoon", if you will. no, money and influence in politics does not go away if you bar Tycoons from entering office. staying in Italy, see the immense influence that the Agnelli Family had on the Left

In reply to by LetThemEatRand

Ghordius ShabbosGoy Tue, 11/07/2017 - 04:21 Permalink

the Pharisees alleged similar accusations in regard to Magdalene

meanwhile, Italians are, like most european Continentals, less prurient in such things. take it as a fact

many here would call in private that 17-year old a... courtesan. and state that it's something similar but still not prostitution

the scandal arose when he tried to protect her, note. from deportation. many in Italy take that as proof that she is not a prostitute, which would not have enjoyed such protection in face of a possible scandal

see that old movie, "Gigi", if memory does not betray me

In reply to by ShabbosGoy

Joe A Ghordius Tue, 11/07/2017 - 03:34 Permalink

Berlusconi also has dubious Mafia connections (not so smart) and was BFF with Ghadaffi (that was smart). The latter, although a crook and a dictator) he paid good sums of money in order to keep the migrant flow down. Berlusconi was against the intervention in Libya.Now, France and the UK are taking Italy's business interest and political influence away from Italy and Italy has received an influx of migrants. So Italians are pissed off. And when people are pissed off, they tend to vote radical. So Berlusconi "reborn" could take advantage of that. You have to admire the man for always knowing how to make a comeback. At 81.

In reply to by Ghordius

Joe A Ghordius Tue, 11/07/2017 - 04:13 Permalink

They have their tentacles everywhere. Reminds me of this Italian eighties series about the Mafia. Good series with the usual off synchronization of studio dubbed lyrics and Italian melodrama. You gotta love the Italians for their melodrama but it is also a bit laughable, like with any of these latin folks. But that is just the arrogant Northern European in me talking, with hints of calvimism.

In reply to by Ghordius

Ghordius Joe A Tue, 11/07/2017 - 03:49 Permalink

excellent comment, Joe A, +1

but... over one million (perhaps even two), of those black "migrants"... where always coming illegally for harvest season to Southern Italy. and going back to Africa after it. all this turmoil... just left them stranded, actually. and even more dependent on the local Mafia

economically, there is a counterpart to this visible in the Spanish agriculture

In reply to by Joe A

Joe A Ghordius Tue, 11/07/2017 - 04:09 Permalink

The Mafia was also milking all that money that came from Rome and Brussels to handle the migrantion. They are good at that. Also when there is a natural disaster and the relief money floods in. I find it all too curious that his running mate that wants to tackle corruption and the Mafia on Sicily decided to run with Berlusconie. That makes me doubt this guy's intentions.

In reply to by Ghordius