He came back, saying it was “to fight one last political election battle”.
Silvio Berlusconi, bathed in the glow of a supportive crowd and media, was convinced of his greatness, and lambasted his adversaries as ‘taxing technocrats’.
He offered up promises to attract votes which no other candidate would dare to.
He said at a rally of The People of Freedom Party: “In our first cabinet meeting we will pass a decision to refund Italian families the 2012 tax they paid on their first house, to compensate them for that dreadful imposition.”
That was a defiant taunt for the man who brought in that unpopular tax, Mario Monti, the economist technocratic prime minister called in to take over from Berlusconi and rescue Italy in November 2011, from its debt torment.
Berlusconi was forced to resign. When he went, crowds flooded the streets of Rome to celebrate.
And to jeer.
The billionaire media mogul who’d taken Italian politics by storm in 1994 and gone on to win three out of five legislative elections looked like he was finally out for the count. Well, he was out for a year.
But it was Berlusconi who made Monti’s government fall, by withdrawing his party’s support – so he could stage a come-back, the way only he knows how.