The Italian Senate may have killed Silvio Berlusconi’s political career by expelling him on Wednesday, but the political animal is very much alive, and retains a nasty bite.
The disgraced former prime minister promises this is not the end, and he remains at liberty to lead an opposition movement. He has promised revenge by the ballot box for what he calls a “coup”.
“I shall return,” was one of Thursday’s front page headlines. Berlusconi’s media power means he will have no trouble stealing the political thunder, and he remains a disruptive force in Italian politics.
Yet many Italians appeared unimpressed, with such comments as: “The expulsion’s entirely normal. They applied a law, and that’s nothing out of the ordinary.”
“It’s certainly a turning point, which goes beyond the new political situation, and the new formations that are appearing. Whichever way you look at it this is an end, but it may also be the start of something new.”
With Berlusconi no longer supporting the Letta government, he can turn his considerable resources towards disrupting an already tense parliament.
His next date with the legal system is in March for the Ruby underage prostitution affair; he also has an ongoing appeal for alleged wiretapping, and two ongoing trials for alleged perjury and vote-buying.