Thursday

2nd Feb 2023

Berlusconi: Italy's next finance minister?

  • Some Italian commentators believe Berlusconi would wangle his way to the PM post if his coalition wins despite his comments (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Italy's former leader, Silvio Berlusconi, will join forces with the Northern League party in next month's elections, but does not want to be Prime Minister again.

Speaking on Italian radio on Monday (7 January), he said the new alliance was clinched in talks in the small hours of the morning.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He used the Latin phrase "Habeas Papam," or "We have a Pope," in reference to Vatican election customs, but added that if the coalition wins, he will put forward his PDL party's secretary, Angelino Alfano, for the country's top job.

"Alfano could be our candidate for Prime Minister and I could be the finance minister ... which would allow me to demonstrate once again that I have no political ambitions, that I don't consider politics as something that brings me any advantages," he said.

He also attacked Mario Monti, the country's technocrat caretaker leader, for his "immoral" decision to run in the vote despite previous promises.

"When he [Monti] was made Prime Minister he said - and he told me this, too - that once his mandate had expired, he would no longer be a political player," Berlusconi said.

For his part, Roberto Maroni, the Northern League chief, also told media that Monday's coalition agreement "says explicitly that the candidate for Prime Minister will not be Silvio Berlusconi."

According to an Ipso poll out on Sunday, the disgraced former leader (a convicted fraudster who still faces charges of paying for sex with a minor) and the league (an anti-immigrant party which wants financial autonomy for Italy's richer northern regions) could get 28 percent of the vote.

The centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) and its SEL party ally are tipped to win with up to 39 percent.

But a strong result for PDL-Northern-League in the senate might force PD to team up with Monti's centre-right coalition (set to gain up to 19 percent) in order to get laws through parliament, in a deal which could see Monti reinstalled as PM.

Meanwhile, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement of comedian Beppe Grillo is predicted to get 14 percent.

With Berlusconi previously vowing to roll back Monti-era austerity measures, such as a new property tax, Monday's announcement caused a setback for Italian bonds.

Yields on Italy's 10-year papers rose by 0.03 percent to 4.25 percent, even as some EU leaders voiced optimism that the sovereign debt crisis is over.

"I think we can say that the existential threat against the euro has essentially been overcome ... In 2013 the question won't be if the euro will, or will not, implode," European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told press in Lisbon on Monday.

EU leaders back Monti against Berlusconi

Germany's Merkel and other centre-right leaders have indicated they would like to see Mario Monti to keep on running Italy instead of Silvio Berlusconi.

Monti to resign after Berlusconi seeks comeback

Italy's Monti has said he will step down as PM after media magnate and convicted fraudster Berlusconi broke up his parliamentary majority and announced he will stand for re-election.

Monti attacks 'short-termism' in EU politics

Italian Prime Minister Monti has criticised fellow EU leaders for the way they dealt with the euro crisis and said the UK is right to pose fundamental questions.

EU lobby register still riddled with errors

The EU's lobby register remains riddled with errors, with pro-transparency campaigners demanding better data and mandatory rules. The latest findings come amid a raft of proposals by the European Parliament president to weed out corruption in the wake of Qatargate.

Column

Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?

Countries that were once democratising are now moving in the other direction — think of Turkey, Myanmar, Hungary or Tunisia. On the other hand, in autocracies mass mobilisation rarely succeeds in changing political institutions. Think of Belarus, Iran or Algeria.

Latest News

  1. EU green industry plan could spark 'dangerous subsidy race'
  2. Wolves should be defended, EU ministers urge
  3. EU Commission wants drones for Bulgaria on Turkey border
  4. MEPs rally ahead of vote for gig-economy workers' rights
  5. Europe is giving more aid to Ukraine than you think
  6. Hungary blames conspiracy for EU corruption rating
  7. Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?
  8. EU lobby register still riddled with errors

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us