Will Italy back Berlusconi again?
Italy's political parties presented on Tuesday their lists of candidates for the parliamentary elections slated for March 4. Europe's commentators take varying views of a potential comeback by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Representatives of a coarsened society
The candidates' profiles reflect the country's decline, historian Ernesto Galli della Loggia complains in Corriere della Sera:
“The economic recovery was accompanied by something that can only be described as a fundamental decline. Something that goes beyond GDP and investment. A deterioration of the country's social structure in which a coarsening of culture and customs goes hand in hand with the spread of behaviour patterns that border on the illegal. ... Why should such a country have a political class other than the one it now has, or parliamentary candidates other than those the parties have just presented? We must come to terms with the truth. Only a tiny minority of Italians really wants a different country - and the politicians know it!”
Berlusconi knows what promises to make
The party led by Berlusconi, who is banned from holding public office until 2019, could once again nominate the prime minister, Polityka believes:
“Why is it possible for Berlusconi, who was convicted of tax fraud in 2013 and has embarrassed himself in almost every respect, to make a comeback in Italian politics? ... On the whole he is trying to win over conservative voters. But he is also fighting for the votes of the forgotten and excluded, for example the housewives, the jobless and the pensioners. ... Berlusconi is a person of flesh and blood with all his weaknesses and disadvantages. He has already been in power, so he seems like a safe bet to many Italians. And he is promising things the Italians need, for instance a flat tax and higher pensions. That can cloud people's memories.”
In Orbán's tracks
The pro-government weekly Figyelő predicts a sharp change of course in Italy's refugee policy after the parliamentary elections:
“Orbán has been proven right, 2017 really was the year of the 'rebellion'. If the centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi comes to power, which seems quite likely judging by the polls, this process will continue in 2018: in Italy too, an end will be put to uncontrolled migration and the taboo-making political correctness it entails. ... The biggest winner of this process is Hungary now that its proposed solutions and views, formerly repudiated, are gaining traction in more and more countries of Europe. What used to be Hungary's minority stance is now shared by a growing contingent.”