Berlusconi provokes with closeness to Putin

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has caused an uproar with remarks about Vladimir Putin. In an audio recording of a meeting with members of his Forza Italia party, the 86-year-old member of parliament boasted that Putin had given him 20 bottles of vodka for his birthday and had described him as one of his five true friends. What does this mean for the pending formation of a new government?

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La Stampa (IT) /

Completely unfit for office

Bill Emmott, former chief editor of The Economist, doesn't mince his words in La Stampa:

“Perhaps he has done Italy and Giorgia Meloni a favour: with his comments about Putin, Zelensky, Biden and Trump, Silvio Berlusconi has confirmed once and for all that the idea that he is a moderate and expert statesman whom the new prime minister should call regularly for advice is utter nonsense. Worse still, it is an outright lie. Now no one can doubt that Berlusconi is not only unfit to lead Italy - as The Economist wrote 21 years ago - but that he is also completely 'unfit' to hold any office in the new government.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Cavaliere putting more obstacles in Meloni's way

The old centre-right camp is dead and the new one is yet to be born, columnist Antonio Polito laments in Corriere della Sera:

“Any psychological interpretation of Berlusconi's behaviour tells only the part of the truth. Age alone does not explain it, nor does the scorpion-like temperament that stings even those who carry him on their shoulders into government, nor any remaining machismo. ... None of this can explain why, on the eve of forming a government, the Cavaliere is still putting obstacles in the path of the future prime minister. ... Berlusconi cannot accept the death of 'his' centre-right. Meloni must create a political coalition that doesn't exist today. And she must do so while building a government.”