Two hours of intensive training in the pool and gym – the perfect way for Silvio Berlusconi to come back to work after a busy day in the election. At least that’s how the doctor from Italy’s multiple ex-prime minister explains it.
It’s the 81-year-old’s good again, should that mean, do not worry. After signs of fatigue, Berlusconi had to cancel interview appointments this week and take a break. Not only in his party raises the question of whether the “Cavaliere” the stressful election campaign can even hold out.
The multimillionaire has enormous backwater, which is astounding enough for outsiders in view of his scandalous four terms and the image damage to his country. The alliance of its conservative Forza Italia with the xenophobic Lega party and with the right-wing populist Fratelli d’Italia is in polls with about 37 percent up front. Should the Alliance win a governing majority in the elections on March 4, Berlusconi’s rehabilitation would be perfect – even if he is not allowed to run for tax evasion.
Press reports on a “secret to Berlusconi’s feebleness”
But Berlusconi’s health is not the best, no secret. In the summer of 2016 he had a heart surgery, later followed by hospital visits. Publicly, the Milanese media entrepreneur hardly appears in the election campaign – especially in his (in-house) broadcasters, where no critical questions await him, and in social networks, where he uses his messages and campaign promises to his liking Country sends.
Even if the press knows about a “secret to Berlusconi’s weakness,” he assures himself that he is doing well. He had just spent a bit of his time compiling the electoral lists. “I’m sorry to disappoint our competitors, but I’m fine and I only paused for two days,” he said. “Grandpa is fine,” wrote the newspaper “Corriere della Sera”.
He used the Renzi vacuum skillfully
Berlusconi has cleverly used the vacuum created by the fall of Social Democrat Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in the past year: Italy lacks a leader who could get people out of their disenchantedness with politics.
The top candidate of the populist five-star movement, Luigi Di Maio: too good, too uncharismatic, too fickle. Renzi: After his meteoric rise, his star has burned up, the 43-year-old is considered one of the country’s most unpopular politicians. The leader of the Lega, Matteo Salvini: A man polarized with xenophobic slogans. In the meantime, there is a lack of women in the election campaign among the major parties.
Berlusconi sells himself as a statesman
Berlusconi has managed to sell himself as the “Elder Statesman”. He likes to boast that he is also highly regarded internationally. He is the only one who can save Italy from the Five Stars, which he has described as a “sect”, and who are also being skeptically eyed in Brussels for Euro-critical positions.
The big mystery remains: if the Silvio Alliance really won, who would make the head of government? Berlusconi has chosen the current President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani. But this could only be a move, with which he wants to give himself a European-friendly coat of paint. Tajani as an EU friend would be difficult for the anti-European Lega.