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Friday, 18 May, 2001, 09:21 GMT 10:21 UK
Italian election result: The right choice?

The right-wing coalition led by media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi has gained enough votes to form a government.

With nearly all the votes now in, the results point to a comfortable margin in the lower house and to a narrower victory in the upper house, the Senate.

Mr Berlusconi will have to rely on his more radical ally - Umberto Bossi of the Northern League - to stay in power.

He will be joined by National Alliance leader Gianfranco Fini who is lined up to become Berlusconi's right-hand man as deputy prime minister.

What do you think? Do you think Berlusconi has chosen the right people to join him? Is this the right choice for Italy?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

Of course it is. You don't understand Italian people at all. We need a change and Berlusconi it is the only possible solution at the moment.
Angela, Italy

There is no way he could be a good prime minister with all the financial interest he has, plus his right tendency in politics would damage the good reputation of Italy as a neutral and loved country from east and west. For sure he will look after his own interest at the expenses of his country.
Mufid Ghadban, Canada

Those weaknesses exist and have been recognised and ignored since the institution of the Republic

Stephen, Italy
He has been elected through a recognised democratic process so I would say that it is too late now for agonising over whether or not he was the right choice. If this same democratic process - which allows for example a media tycoon, or the owner of a football team for that matter to sit in Parliament - had been analysed and reformed at the right time, we would not be facing such a prospect now.

In this sense, Berlusconi's ability to have himself elected as prime minister reflects exactly what he has been doing for years with his businesses and personal fortune - exploiting Italy's fiscal and judicial weaknesses. That those weaknesses exist and have been recognised and ignored since the institution of the Republic by all of Italy's previous governments is the lamentable issue. However I don't think that the one man who has gained most from exploiting the defects in the Italian democracy is the one who is going to resolve them. Nor do I expect democratic reform to figure high on his government's list of priorities.

Whether the centre-right coalition is the right choice for Italy or not, time will tell. Meanwhile one can hope that the foreign press (including the British one) will refrain from patronising the Italians on the basis of their (the UK's media's) superficial knowledge of the country and its political system. In the '80, although Mrs Thatcher's positions could appear disconcerting to many Europeans and many Tories embraced reactionary ideologies, no one called them fascists nor were concerns voiced about the UK's democracy. Whatever Mr. Berlusconi's achievements, I do hope that Fleet Street's gurus will stop lecturing and start looking at the actual facts of the countries they write about.
Giuseppe, Belgium

If Italians wanted a new start for Italy, the last person to vote for should have been Berlusconi: he owes his success to the corruption of the old Christian Democrat regime and its leaders such as Bettino Craxi (who died in self-imposed exile after being condemned on corruption charges). This is a sad day for my country.
Paolo, London, UK

World leaders should not have ongoing business concerns as well

Victor Rayed, England
World leaders should not have ongoing business concerns as well - surely being a leader is enough. The fact he runs 3 TV stations amongst many other business concerns is a bad omen. The fact he has already been accused of bribery is a deadly omen.
Victor Rayed, England

Rutelli's speeches were 80% accusations against Berlusconi and 20% explanations of what he and his coalition had in mind for Italy's future. Berlusconi's speeches were exactly the contrary, he talked principally about gigantic projects for our country. I think that people prefer feeling enthusiasm rather than hate; I think that people prefer dreams rather than resign. Well, Berlusconi has been able to let people hope for a modern, efficient and secure nation; Rutelli hasn't. Lets him try! He could succeed...
Giorgio, Italy

People in a democracy should be concerned when a man feels he can only improve upon his financial success by acquiring political success. He is a businessman and has been trained to view the Italian public as nothing more than consumers and viewers in his corporate-media maze. He wouldn't be where he is today if that weren't the case.
Erik Larson, Oregon, USA

Berlusconi will bring Italy high in the world.

Alberto, USA

I have read the disappointing comments on this page of those people who do not care for the future of our great country. Berlusconi is a competent economist and a modern leader; he will bring Italy high in Europe and in the world. The Italian branch of the Russian red star has been beaten, hopefully forever.
Alberto, U.S.A.

What really worries me is the future Italian role within the EU. Before the election of Mr. Blair as Prime Minister in the UK, the United States used UK as a lever to slow down or hamper the integration process in the European Union. But Mr. Blair supports the EU, so US had to find another "mine". Mr. Berlusconi may do the job, also considering how close Berlusconi and Bush are. Unlike the UK, Italy is fully integrated in the EU, so its action may be more incisive. I really hope I'm wrong and that the German project for a Federal Europe will go on anyway.
Roberto, USA

What people in Britain need to understand about Berlusconi and Forza Italia is that they represent a new form of right-wing populism. The collapse of the mainstream parties in Italy in the 90s was very dramatic. The centre-left coalition is basically as pro-market as Tony Blair. Mr. Berlusconi, like Thatcher in the 80s, appeals to the middle-class as one of their own; a crude nationalism and an anti-left rhetoric.
Mark Brown, Scotland

Berlusconi's influence will be as big as Mr Haiders influence in Austria: fading.

Jan-Joost, The Netherlands
After years of economic growth it is amazing to see that many Italians voted for Mr Berlusconi. The problem is that the left could not transform the political structure as they did with the economy. Italy has always been a country with a complex political structure. That started long ago. This political structure is still intact, with neo fascists and a very strong communist party on the other side. And this complex political structure will make it difficult for Mr Berlusconi to stay in power for a long period. His influence will be as big as Mr Haiders influence in Austria: fading.
Jan-Joost van der Slik, The Netherlands

Italy has the government that it deserves: if Italian people are so blind that they can't see in what trouble they have put the country, this means that they deserve to be led in the next five years by Berlusconi. Everybody who has just glanced his political program for the next five years must have noticed that he just cares about his own good. I think this is the strength of Mr. Berlusconi: he is proud of whatever is a shame for common people, and he always manages to convince the population that he is a victim. Poor guy, he is just left with six televisions and a lot of power that will allow him to clear his debts with justice!
Biagio, UK-Italy

I think that it will be a big change for Italy, because it is a great country with a great potential especially on the industrial side. Why not to give to Italy the chance to reach the level of most of European countries?
Dany, UK

No, I don't think our choice was right. Yes (I hope), Mr B could turn out to be less evil than he looks now, thanks to good choices in his team - eg: the Northern League has suffered heavy losses, and its leader's first declarations after the vote sound to me as pre-emptive bids to secure top posts that might go elsewhere. The neo-fascists also look weaker. These two are the worst elements of the picture, the rest of the alliance being a strange mixture of former Christian democrats and socialists (!) aiming at the money, power and success Mr B epitomises so well. If a few respected, independent personalities will join the team (and manage to mute somehow a ranting leader), it could be not totally bad news for Italy.
Alessandro, Italy

People should stop attacking Mr Berlusconi

Andrea, Italy
People should stop attacking Mr Berlusconi. Democracy is not under fire from totalitarianism. And stop talking about possible troubles with the EU Government. We should remember all the good things the right wing did in Spain in the last years. The English conservative point of view is not better than the Italian one and the actual left-oriented English government is not so far from the centre-right Italian political system.
Andrea, Italy

Mr Berlusconi represents for Italy what Rupert Murdoch is for the UK - man who has a power on people's brains and who is linked with great economic forces. Unfortunately, he is a man who brings a little more confusion between the real power the European democracies are going to lose, and the actual and current power of business and money...
Fred Dozin, Belgium

Whether he is the "right" person for Italy is something only the Italian electorate have a right to decide, and they have decided that they want him as their leader. I wonder how long it will be before Europe decides the electorate should be over-ruled and a left-leaning leader imposed on them, as they did with the democratically elected Freedom Party in Austria.
John B, UK

The world's fed up of the so-called "centre" calling themselves "democrats", and the others "non-democrats". The hysterical cries of the Italian centre and the efforts of Al Gore to manipulate the election results in the US, prove who's the real non-democrat. It's them that want to draw lines, which help them conceal their inadequacy when it comes to the real issues. Berlusconi won because his rivals' programme was to thwart Berlusconi, they had NOTHING positive to put forward on their own record. Hague will win because Blair's NOTHING else to say but to thwart Hague. Whoever campaigns with no programme other than thwarting someone, LOSES.
Nick, UK

...a warning for the democratic countries

Carlo, Italy
My only hope now is that, at least, Italy will be an example and a warning for the democratic countries. We can no more be allowed to be included among them, with a Government where a mafia-man turned into a media tycoon will lead an herd of angry (post?) fascists and rude racists.
Carlo, Italy

Berlusconi is the right man for Middle-east, not for Italy. He is not a liberal, he loves power and he thinks he is the best in the world. Forza Italia is not a party; it's a corporation, a danger for freedom and for all true liberals
Marco, italy

How long before the EU decides that the electors of a sovereign country were wrong by not choosing a socialist and start a diplomatic boycott as they did with Austria?
Martin, England

Italian left ...a fragmented assortment of egos.

Neil, Italy
The left lost because they are a fragmented assortment of egos. This is why the centre-left government had three Prime Ministers in five years. It doesn't surprise me therefore that the Italians have gone for Berlusconi. Immigration is a non-issue - as most Italians want it stopped. Corruption is also a non-issue as most Italians expect their politicians (left or right) to be a bit dodgy. On other policies the left and right coalitions are not hugely different.
Neil, Rome

The primary issues in Italy, as well as in all of Europe, are immigration and the degradation of the culture, and Berlusconi and Fini are the men who will bring order and determine whether Italy's heritage will survive or be driven to extinction by the forces of Leftist Utopians.
Gioacchino, USA

He is the right man for my country, not because he's fit to rule, but because if 43% of my fellow citizens (not me) vote him, he IS Italy. At least the worst part of it..
Tommaso, Italy

They see him as the lesser of two evils

Phil, UK
Unfortunately most Italians seem to be voting for Berlusconi, only because they see him as the lesser of two evils. Given the allegations against him, I would however agree that he is probably unfit to lead any democratic country, however that decision rests with the people of Italy. The fact that he won Sicily so convincingly, at least suggests that he is the preferred candidate of organised crime.
Phil, UK

Silvio Berlusconi is not powerful enough to constitute a threat to freedom of the press. However, his dodgy past as well as the very low political culture he has displayed during the campaign reveal an opportunistic man with a vague political programme and minimal intellectual capabilities. Rutelli is not a saint, not even a social democrat, from what I understand, but Italy would be served better under his reign. So I believe.
Dimitris, UK

What we need is not "the right man", not another superman, but efficient and patient servants to the rule(s) of law.
Giorgio, Italia

Mr Berlusconi [aka "Il Cavaliere"] just finished showing to the whole world how easy it is for a rich and corrupted businessman, buying a whole nation and serving it hot to whoever [US?] wants to stop the EU progression towards democracy and co-operation. Disgusting recipe indeed.
Stefano, Italy

This isn't an ideologist fight, in fact we voted the "Home of Freedom" only because we don't like what the centre/left coalition did during the last five years. Now is time to change.
Antonio, Italy

I feel today will be remembered as the saddest day of our democracy

Alessandra, Italy
I feel today, 14th May 2001, will be remembered as the saddest day of our democracy. I am ashamed in seeing that my co-nationals have become so short-sighted and incapable of realising the consequences that bringing Mr Berlusconi to power will have for our country. People mostly voted for him, I think, because they were fascinated by his managerial ability to successfully run his business, conveniently overlooking at the same time the methods he used, which I will define as unclear, to say the least. His supporters are probably convinced that running a country is exactly like running a business, and since he succeeded in one task, he'll be able to succeed in the other. He probably will, but I wonder at what social cost?
Alessandra, Italy

I am not particularly happy with the victory of a would-be businessman (although his companies have a high debt-to-capital ratio...) and who has been unwilling to divest his media interests (fundamental to secure his return to office). My misguided compatriots probably need to have the man in authority for a few years, so that they will see his inability to fulfill his electoral promises. Italy has understood that it had to get rid of the Christian-Democrats, but visibly not what to replace their corrupted system with...
Massimo, Belgium

Democracy cannot be achieved in a country where politics is considered a mere instrument of power. We Italians inherit this from the age of the Roman Empire, without changing mentality since then. We also tend to forget our history, repeating the same mistakes over and over. Berlusconi will be just another bad governor as all the previous ones.
Sandro, UK

This is a strange day...should I to be happy or not ? Anyway vox populi wins, no doubt. But surely it is a lesson for the left: never manage a campaign against one person...people don't believe in this. Berlusconi seems to have several ideas in mind, Rutelli seems to have just Berlusconi in mind... viva l'Italia and stay with us!
Marco Ceschi, , Verona, Italy

The Italian leftist propaganda has definitely done a good job discrediting Berlusconi abroad using either false accusations or nevertheless charges mostly not supported by evidence. As for the candid souls who are worried about freedom of speech if Berlusconi were to win, they should instead be more worried by this leftist campaign of misinformation.

Berlusconi is no saint nor will he solve all Italian problems, however he will do a better job in governing Italy than Rutelli whose life accomplishment, good or bad, are too few to be remembered even by his supporters.
Cesare, USA

What is worrying is the fact that he holds so much economic power

Michele Leopardi, Italy/Ireland
"The right man for Italy" would be one that could face new ideas, deal with the southern Italian economic problems and reform the electoral system that was created to act as a barrier against possible "dangerous" governments of an extremist kind (communist or fascist).

If this man is Berlusconi or not nobody can say for sure, but what is worrying is the fact that he holds so much economic power, and that he hasn't a very clean and clear past. Rutelli is not really a communist, he would simply continue the same policies his "Olive Tree" party colleagues have had until now. So, no Berlusconi would not be fit to govern, because of his financial power, it's as if Rupert Murdoch became the new Australian prime minister. As a famous Italian journalist said, I hope Rutelli wins, because he is the least dangerous to democracy of the two.
Michele Leopardi, Italy/Ireland

They are very hard times for Italy. I've voted Centre-Left but I'm not communist (I think that Communism is death). I've voted Rutelli because I think that Berlusconi is dangerous for my country, democracy, freedom and the poor. His allies (Bossi and Fini) are against immigrants, gays, and they come from an ex-Fascist Party. It is not good for Italy or another any country.
Cristiano, Italia

Italy is probably one of the most democratic countries in the world. Its main problem is it is too democratic. Berlusconi is no more of a danger than Thatcher was. In actual fact he will not have control of the entire media. The government-run media RAI will be regulated by the government not by Berlusconi, he is not a dictator and never will be. I hope that people will bear that in mind before jumping the gun by saying he is a danger to democracy.
Pietro Kovan, Czech Republic

I really do not understand why foreign people speak about the Italian political situation without knowing the situation here. Try coming to Italy to deal with bureaucracy or to run your own business activity and you will realise the meaning of fighting against the left parties. In five years they have not been able to do anything of good for the country. Actually, I am hoping for a deep change in the Italian situation.
Lino, Italy

Italians are facing a difficult choice, after a shameful election campaign based on mutual insults rather than facts about the actual programmes. Mr. Berlusconi is unfit to govern but Mr. Rutelli, the left wing candidate, is no better: while he was Rome mayor ha squandered about 1 billion pounds in cosmetic changes which were good only for tourists, not for the inhabitants of the city. A vote for smaller parties would be useless. We all envy the British for their efficient democracy. Unfortunately we are very far way from the British system
Danilo Sassoni, Italy

Mr Berlusconi doesn't seem to have a clear history

Anton, Italy
I don't really think that Mr Berlusconi is the right person to lead Italy, but as well I don't think that Rutelli is better than him. Mr Berlusconi doesn't seem to have a clear history, and this is bad. However, Rutelli is not Blair or Clinton or Schroeder or Jospin, these are reformers' leaders, while Rutelli is the new face-leader of the former Communist Party. In Italy people feel as a "matter" the presence of the former Communist Party, and who feel reformer has to vote or Mr Di Pietro or Ms Bonino.
Anton, Italy

What is the difference between Berlusconi's potential dominance in the political realm in Italy and the Vatican's true monopoly in the religious? The Italians have been taught to follow this kind of leadership. The Pope has said publicly he wishes to recreate Charlemagne's Holy Roman Empire, and so the Vatican needs more politicians like Berlusconi in Europe.
John, USA

Berlusconi, through his empire, controls a lot of the media in Italy. What will happen to freedom of speech and democracy if he wins?
Ann Rogan, UK

As an Italian living in the UK, it astonishes me that people would actually vote for someone like Silvio Berlusconi. Everything he stands for oozes with corruption, greed and lies. The most amazing this is that my fellow compatriots seem to want this individual in power of the country. It seems as though he has been able, in one way or another, to brainwash the majority of the population. I just hope people see this before it is too late....
Daniele Lazzari, UK

The traditional rivalry between the left and right should be cast aside because it only holds Italy back

Chuck, Atlanta, USA
Whoever wins the election deserves the full support of the Italian people. The traditional rivalry between the left and right should be cast aside because it only holds Italy back.
Chuck, Atlanta, USA

I don't understand why everyone is so concerned about Mr. Berlusconi's leadership and the next Italian government. His government will likely last as long the one in 1994, and we will all be reading soon about post-War government number 60.
Jovan, Yugoslavia

Berlusconi in my eyes would be a better candidate to win the election in Italy. A man of such great success would do well in running a country like Italy. This is possible only if the people join him in doing the work as is supposed to be. Viva Berlusconi, viva Italia.

Italy is a country that judges people mostly on material basis, how they dress and what not. So, I think it will be wonderful if they would be led by a man of great materialism.
Muhammed, The Gambia

Just some facts. Hard-core communists are _not_ sitting in the government in Italy. They caused the fall of the Prodi government by leaving the cabinet.

The "same useless bunch" is not the one in power now: they are solidly behind Mr Berlusconi. If Craxi wasn't dead, he'd be campaigning for him.

As for this being the Italians' business entirely, that's simply either very short-sighted, or the opinion of somebody who's got something to hide. Nothing is just one nation's business. It wasn't Nazi Germany's business, it wasn't Serbia's business, it wasn't Rwanda's business. It's the business of anybody, anywhere, that cares for democracy and honesty.
Anna Feruglio Dal Dan, Italy

I'm not familiar enough with Italian politics to really say, but insofar as Berlusconi is being attacked by pompous media know-alls across the globe, he must be doing something right. At any rate, he's at least something of a character, one not another political automaton, which is a refreshing change from the Blairs and Hagues of the world.
Tom, USA

It is clear that the vote in Italy will be against the left not pro Berlusconi. We need positive personalities like Emma Bonino but she will be kept very far from any room of power just because is too positive.
Valerio, Italy

The question is an interesting one, but the answer is irrelevant. The reason: the system of proportional representation designed to keep the communists out of government since the war does not permit ANY person to govern Italy. Unfortunately it is time for Italians to "hold their noses", vote for Berlusconi, and hope that his majority is so big that he dares to change the electoral system. Then Italy might have a chance of showing Europe and the world what it is capable of instead of just providing light entertainment at election time.
Huw Beaugie, France/UK/Italy

Let's face it: Italian politics has always been different from the rest of the world's. Whether or not Mr Berlusconi is fit to run the country is not for me to say; however, since so many parties in the country have so many internal problems, Mr. Berlusconi's "Forward Italy" group may be the solution to the great democratic problem.
Nikolaj Hawaleschka Stenberg, Denmark

The majority of Italy hopes that Berlusconi will win elections, because he is the right man in the right place at the right time

Agostino, Italy
The majority of Italy hopes that Berlusconi will win elections, because he is the right man in the right place at the right time. Italy cannot be again governed by comunists, we want to be free and liberal European citizens.
Agostino, Italy

I think that Mr Berlusconi must solve the problem of "conflicts of interests" before the elections. Every civil country solved that, in the past.
Enrico, Italy

As an Englishwoman living in Italy and married to an Italian I will be voting today. Although in England I have no doubts as to whom to give my vote to; my family has voted Conservative for generations. Here I am put here in a very difficult position as I will certainly not vote for Berlusconi and what he stands for. I agree entirely with the recent article in "The Economist" and I was suprised when Italian friends said it was such a "strong" piece.

However, who now do I vote for? Do I vote left for Rutelli? I certainly will not vote for anybody connected with Andreotti and his past whatever the result of the court cases have been. Should I vote for some small party which would mean my vote not really counting at all? After weighing up the case I feel I have only one possibility voting for Rutelli which "tradisce" my British heritage!
Jacqueline Angela Cook, Italy

Mr Berlusconi has an unclear history

Armen Shahnazarian, Italy
As an American living in Italy, it would be nice to see a leader with the courage to make the kind of decisions needed to strengthen and enforce the policies needed to ensure a stable future. Mr Berlusconi has an unclear history, but which one of us does?
Armen Shahnazarian, Italy

It's purely a matter for the Italians I guess, but I was in Italy last time Berlusconi was in power, and he was utterly resented by the vast majority of people I met. Certainly he had the approval of a lot of Italians, but it's never a good thing when politics becomes so polarised, as we in the UK know from the Thatcher years. Successive polls showed her to be the most admired and most resented leader of all time. What would really help Italy at this time would be a leader who would unify and build bridges, rather than increase the divisions. Somehow, I don't think this is going to happen, whoever wins.
Tim Hiscock, UK

I find it incredible that someone like Berlusconi is even allowed to be a candidate seeing as he owns numerous TV stations, newspapers, publishing houses etc. I'm sure that if this happened in the UK people would be outraged! The other night he was on his TV station for several hours, lecturing the party faithful. Admittedly Rutelli was on another of his stations but in a completely different situation, answering tough questions from the unemployed, minority group representatives etc. I'm sure we'd all like to see a Rutelli vs Berlusconi debate. Wonder why Berlusconi doens't agree to it?
Rachel Harraway, Italy

Imagine a scenario where Robert Maxwell became UK Prime Minister before charges against him were proven. Perhaps Berlusconi isn't a Maxwell, but money and influence have bought him power without any degree of certainty over his true motives.
Andy Millward, UK

Silvio Berlusconi and his party are bad news for Italy

Benj'min Mossop, UK
Silvio Berlusconi said that he would 'run Italy like a business'. That along with Berlusconi's politics sums up what will happen if his party wins the Italian elections - capitalism will become yet more entrenched in Italy, privatisation will accelerate and big business will take even more power than it has now. The huge inequalities in Italian society, the corrupt capitalism and the costs of putting the pursuit of wealth before the pursuit of a better society will increase at the expense of humanity and equality. Silvio Berlusconi and his party are bad news for Italy and bad news for the world. Yet another dangerous right-wing party taking power in a country which previously had hope of progressing.
Benj'min Mossop, UK

Surrounded by scandal, accusations of bribery, breaking the law, and having the presence of a dodgy second hand car salesman. If you ask me it seems Mr Berlusconi has an impeccable politician's CV.
Menelaus Kouzoupis, UK

I can't see that he will be any worse than any other Italian government. Naturally, his coalition is composed of some of the most "right" mainstream groups in Italy. Extremes in a group tend to be destabilising but this has been Italy's main problem anyway - putting together a large enough group of like-minded legislators in the deputies.
George Milton, USA and Italy

It is nobody else's business

Mohammed Argungu, Nigeria
If the Italians want to vote for Mr Berlusconi to be their Prime Minister, then he must be good enough for them and it is nobody else's business. Not even the Economist. He certainly is not the first multi-billionaire businessman to stand for election in any country in the world. Why pick on him alone and now?
Mohammed Argungu, Nigeria

Let's hope the Italians don't do as the Americans did and make this a popularity contest based on "disgusting" advertising and campaign tricks. A quick look at the outcome of the American election should help the undecided one third decide which way they want to go.
Sari, USA/ Nepal

It does not matter as long as the old useless bunch goes home. They have been there for 50 years and think that they have a claim to it by Divine right. Regardless of what the European media says, Rutelli's choice would be a disaster for my country. The man is just a Green and has made of the historic monuments of Rome a public toilet.
Ettore Mocci, USA

It's for the Italians to decide - but the answer is still no.
Paulo Rocha, Portugal

Berlusconi is a great man and a formidable leader

Erind Maci, Albania
Berlusconi is a great man and a formidable leader. The Italian communists have done everything in their power to keep him from leading Italy but every time a socialist party comes to power in a European country they cannot help but be true to their nature and sink the country lower and lower. Berlusconi will win and pray to God that he not be the only right-wing leader to win in Europe.
Erind Maci, Albania

It seems difficult to have a leader of a country who has a string of charges hanging over his head. But at least he would have something in common with our president Jacques Chirac.
Joe Ryan, France

Seeing as how Italy has had more than 50 prime ministers since the end of World War II, it is unlikely that he will be around long enough to do any damage.
Tom Byrne, USA

He is the right man, since he has proved to be successful, and his progress during the last seven years is admirable.
Hydajet, Albania

Berlusconi, who was a member of the secret P2 in the Seventies and had links with the Mafia, will reduce Italy to a Latin-American styled banana-republic.
Henk Verdru, Belgium

Don't know if Mr Berlusconi is the right person to run this crazy country or not but for sure the centre-left is not the right coalition for our country. I believe that Italy is the only country in Europe, maybe with the exception of Byelorussia, where there are still hard-core communists sitting in the government.
Roberto, Italy

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