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Berlusconi asset or liability?

14/06/11 19:33 CET

After he was defeated in local elections and routed in a referendum, Italy and the rest of Europe are contemplating the end of the Berlusconi era.

Enrico Bonna euronews:
“To discuss the situation we are joined by Sergio Romano, writer, historian and diplomat to discuss the trials of Berlusconi.
Mr Romano, Berlusconi called on Italians not to vote, but they did the opposite. Can we realistically talk about the end of an era?”

Sergio Romano:
“It is not enough to talk about the end of an era, Berlusconi was delivered a clear message. Now we have to wait and see what the political consequences of the message are.”

Enrico Bonna euronews:
“In your opinion, what is the likely political scenario?”

Sergio Romano:
“I’ll start by saying that politicians never give up power if they can help it. They don’t give up because they are righteous, because they feel they can make the place better for the next generation, because they think that the country needs to change. They give up when party colleagues or coalition allies create pressure because they fear for their political future. That is what happened to Margaret Thatcher and Gordon Brown. As a matter of fact political leaders quit when their own people tell them to step down. So far no one in Berlusconi’s party or the Northern League has told Berlusconi to leave.”

Enrico Bonna euronews:
“Do you expect the Northern League to stay on board, they claim they are fed up with all the defeats?”

Sergio Romano:
“I think the league feel embarrassed, they are on the ropes. The electoral setback was huge for the league, it lost voters in it’s heartland. At this point the league no longer sees Berlusconi as an asset, but a liability. But the league knows that it’s electoral programme, the federalism, is more likely to be approved if the government completes it’s term in office and gets the legislation through. We risk a slow decline because the elections are far away.”

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