Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Italian Night Seems Too Long

[Edoardo Montenegro, Turin] - Last Wednesday Silvio Berlusconi won a confidence vote by 342 to 275 at the Parliament. Even if remarking their distance from the Prime Minister, 38 lawmakers belonging to Future and Freedom and to the Movement for Autonomy decided in fact to keep the Italian Government alive (1).

In his speech to the Chamber of Deputies, Silvio Berlusconi called for unity and claimed success (2), but his words looked extremely surreal in the light of both the harshness of his struggle with the Parliament Speaker and the inconsistency of Government action, mainly in facing organized crime and in improving standards of living in the poorest South of Italy (3).

Silvio Berlusconi's rethoric, as well as a rare direct TV parliamentary session, gave Pierluigi Bersani (the leader of the Democratic Party) and Antonio Di Pietro (the leader of the Italy of Values) a great opportunity to embarrass him on grounds of morality, the Prime Minister having so far envisaged a reform of justice which would grant him total immunity from any legal prosecution (4).

Most of all, as outlined by the Italian writer Roberto Saviano, in a democratic country you are not supposed to buy lawmakers in stock while at the same time swearing faithfulness to the will of voters (5).

The final outcome of the battle was thus a failure for Silvio Berlusconi (6). By voting to keep the Italian Government alive, Gianfranco Fini is indeed taking time to build his own new party (7). As the Economist explained, Silvio Berlusconi and Gianfranco Fini now "sleep in separate beds but, for reasons of convenience, under the same roof." (8).

However, by this time the night seems too long: Gianfranco Fini will sooner or later have to decide whether he really aims to become a statesman or remain a tactician.


(1) "Berlusconi, fiducia grazie a FLI ed MPA",, September 29th 2010.

(2) "Berlusconi chiede fiducia alla Camera",, September 30th 2010.

(3) Guy Dinmore, "Berlusconi survives vote, but dependent on rebels",, September 30th 2010.

(4) Giuseppe D'Avanzo, "Il ricatto sulla giustizia",, September 30th 2010.

(5) Roberto Saviano, "La macchina della paura",, September 29th 2010.

(6) Marcello Sorgi, "Ha vinto eppure ha perso",, September 30th 2010.

(7) Ezio Mauro, "La fiducia avvelenata",, September 30th 2010.

(8) "Silvio the survivor",, October 2nd 2010.

Related articles in English

  • Guy Dinmore, "Berlusconi looks to win confidence vote",, September 27th 2010.
  • Stacy Meichtry, "Berlusconi survives key vote",, September 30th 2010. 

Related articles in Italian

  • Ilvo Diamanti, "Un governo che non fa ma che 'dice' di fare",, September 27th 2010.
  • Giuseppe D'Avanzo, "La trave dell'off-shore nell'occhio del Cavaliere",, September 28th 2010.
  • Stefano Folli, "La legislatura adesso è in bilico",, September 30th 2010.
  • Massimo Franco, "Un Sì avvelenato",, September 30th 2010.
  • "Berlusconi professionista politico",, September 30th 2010.
  • Massimo Giannini, "Ma nell'agenda manca l'Italia",, October 1st 2010.


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