Berlusconi not above the law

10/08/2009 - 04:14

Italys Constitutional Court has ruled that Berlusconi should not have immunity from prosecution whilst in office. This should mean that 3 cases against him will now reopen, and his ratings have just dipped below 50%....could this mean an end to his reign?A 



Many people on here have benefited quite a bit from the Berlusconi government. Abolition of Ici on prima casa, introduction of prima casa leglislation, proposed "tourist" taxes affecting both holiday homes and B&B businesses being thrown out....

 Politics and the law being intertwined as usual.  The throwing out of Lodo Alfano, although touted by the PdL as being a witch hunt against berlusconi has no political importance in itself.  The ruling is purely on a constitutional basis - that the law they wanted to bring in is against article 3 of the constitution.  Its effects however, are wide reaching.  Berlusconi and the right are saying its a left wing conspiracy designed to bring down the government.  For a casual onlooker, the cases against Berlusconi - corruption of the judiciary, embezzlement and paying bribes would not be permitted for any member of parliament in another European country not to mention a Prime minister.  Berlusconi and his press continue to say that his popularity is what is important, but there again an indicted criminal in power is not unusual in Italy.

Well, duh, this is a no-brainer, yes?Absolutely, Berlusconi should NOT be above the law.  It's a wonder he got immunity in 2008! Past historical absolute leadership should not lower Italians' expectations and resolve.  Because he panders to the wealthy property-owners  with tax cuts and fear-mongering nativists with rounding-up African immigrants/zingari, he deserves immunity????  The wealthy and nativists make up a strong majority behind him???Good grief if his appeals are going to keep him in power!David Mills got convicted in UK courts for accepting $600,000 Italian bribe, I should think Berla should fall as well since he is implicated in that case. Bush and Berla are a matching set. . .I'm watching this drama closely because no way will I choose to stay in a country that supports a maleducato like Bush from whom I just became liberated!  Bella Italia isn't the only country with Mediterranean climate.Opposition is leaderless only because they aren't really the opposition, like Bush and the Blue Dog Democrats that always voted his way.So, I watch with baited breath to see who is the REAL opposition leader to step up to the plate. . .C A R P E    D I E M !  

As I've said somewhere else, my next door neighbours are dee[ly ashamed about being associated with Berlusconi.  They ask me for news on Italy, because they don't trust their own media any more.  They are honest, law-abiding and, above all, tax paying Italians, but according to B they are probably just a bunch of Communist.

As a matter of fact, Hilter employed violent and intimidating tactics long before 1933, including an attempted coup d'etat, not usually considered to be operating within the democratic process. But anyway, maybe your history books differ from the ones I have read.I am also very surprised to hear that there have been no changes to the university system for 50 years.  I seem to remember watching news reports last year of changes to the system.  I must have been mistaken.I am also interested to hear that Berlusconi has been convicted of fraud and bribery more than once.  I would like to hear more details of these cases as I was not aware that any prosecutions had been successfully upheld. Thank you for enlightening me.Despite Berlusconi's control of the media, there seems to me to be plenty of debate surrounding all aspects of political life here, in all of the major TV stations, on street corners and in the papers. Certainly people in this area are all very interested and well informed and would have little use of the rubbish printed about Italy in the UK press.  Berlusconi lost the last election despite owning the same media companies.  The Italians didn't like the government they got then and voted him back in because they prefered that option.Bearing in mind the fact that the government has approximately 50% support in the country.  If you were to select any group of Italians, you might reasonably expect about half of them to support the government and the other half to be opposed.  Simply representing the views of the opposing 50% on this thread is not very democratic and doesn't really acknowledge the reason he is in power in the first place.I have plenty of opinions on Italy, and have no problem with other people expressing theirs, or asking questions. My point is that I do not feel that the opinions of expats are as valid as those of native Italians when it comes to voting for a national government. Nothing that I have seen on this thread has led me to change that view.

That man is absolutely mad as a hatter.  Read this:  He thinks he is the best ever and most prosecuted ever.  Mind you he let slip at least one truth: "...I have the good luck – having worked well in the past and having accumulated an important wealth – to have been able to spend more than €200m in consultants and judges ... I mean in consultants and lawyers."  Yeah judges more is like it.

In reply to by Heiko

 Heiko, I hear ya loud and clear.  I just hope he's convicted sooner than later so Italians are liberated from this joke-of-a-democratic-leader.They deserve way better.I am seriously discouraged from planning a long stay in Italia next year. . .the political climate does affect me as I choose where I spend my hard-earned money.

Not up to us unfortunately.  Also a highly undemocratic, albeit not uniquely Italian situation.  As a Dutchman I have lived all my adult life outside the Netherlands and have hence never had the right to vote in any national elections.  I believe everyone living legally in a democratic country, should be allowed to vote in that country.  After all the decisions of the government of the country of my residence affect me more than that of my "home country".And the argument that Berlusconi should stay in power, because there is no credible alternative doesn't pull either.  Hitler came to power like that.

I thought that Hitler came to power through murder, intimidation and deceit... and I thought that Berlusconi was democratically elected three times over by his fellow countrymen, the last time with a large and convincing majority, after people became increasingly disillusioned with their last Government..  Still, what do they know? Why not have a small group of expats decide what's best for Italy instead. Sounds like a much better idea."And the argument that Berlusconi should stay in power, because there is no credible alternative doesn't pull either." You are obviously suggesting that Italians should be voting for this non credible alternative because you don't like Berlusconi... What an extraordinary idea! People usually do go for the 'credible' option.Personally, I think it would be appalling if people who have lived for a relatively short period of time in another country, often with little idea of its history and background, and even less idea of the issues at stake, should be allowed the same voting rights as Italians who are electing their national government, fully aware of the long and complicated political history, all the implications and the personalities involved. After all, an Expat voter could help to elect a 'non credible alternative' and then decide to return to his or her original country, leaving the Italians wondering what to do next.

 Agreed MichaelM.I have specifically asked my neighbours what they think of Berlusconi and mostly their immediate reaction is to say "he's not ALL bad you know" as if they assume everyone thinks he is.I think the world's media give him a hard time therefore those gullible enough to take ANY notice of the world's media are convinced about him, without necessarily bothering to consider many of the facts.For me the success or otherwise of any political system (and its individuals) lies in the resulting quality of life for the majority of the people who live there, regardless of the predictable rantings of the popular press and its so-called "liberal" readership.

 michael m... what often suprises me on the ocaisions that Italian politics does get discussed by mainly non italians on is how much their opinions are defined by foreign news reporting to do with Mr B... there is quite  debate amongst Italians regarding the extensive use of many parliamentarians regarding immunity from prosecution...  i seem to remember d'alema, certainly prodi and his family, di pietros familyBerlusconi suits Italy ... and  many things happen because of him... he has brokered many advancements for Italy ...  and for me living here its easy to understand why someone like him is required go up against an established and embedded civil service / judiciary system that is based on eating all the cake first before passing down the crumbs to the people... that is what he stands for the disruption and destruction of the Italian status quo... which means in real life say... that a comune with 100 residents does not have 200 officials running it, that if u want to open a business u do not have to pay several thousands of euros to some comune for the privilege before u start and do not have to fill out a stack of papers the size of the bible to arrive at your opening day...  that if u end up in court on a civil matter that u do not have to be part of the intelectual elite to be able to win...this is what he stands for... for universities with lecturers that can teach ...not employed for their family history and once employed fixed in stone with a salary that they never actually have to bother earning...  and guaranteed to be paid until the day they die... and even then continued to their family... this is Italy and this is what someone like Mr him or not is trying to break..  and thats why the popular vote of most Italians is with him.. because they can see and have seen that their tax goes no where apart from up... for less and less benefit.. that local , regional and provincial government here is killing everyone apart from a few of the northern regions...  and that this comfortable family of blood suckers on Italian in general needs ousting and reforming...  Italy has more civil servants and politicians controlling each member of the population than any other western state... 

 harrumph - Comunes are independent and can do what they like under the constitution - Berlusconi or central government cannot intervene unless they chenge the law which they havent.   As far as I am aware B has done nothing to help small businesses either open or continue in business other than a minor tweak to the date of fatturabilità.    There has been no change in the university system in the last 50 years. until 1933 Hitler did operate within the democratic system - it was the burning of the Reichstag that started the 'dictatorship'As to whether it is appalling that someone living in a country, paying tax and using the services is allowed to vote in the that country - i would say its more acceptable than voting for a parliament in a country that you have elected to leave and have no fiscal ties with, yet are allowed to vote in elections solely because of your nationality...... (see UK) The question is not whether Berlusconi is liked or not - the nub of it is that he has been convicted of fraud and bribery more than once.  He presides over a party where 23 of his party members are convicted of various crimes including mafia association and has an evident conflict of interests that would not be allowed in any other developed country.  In a country where 80% of Italians take their news from tv - of which 80% of viewing share is owned by Berlusconi it is completely understandable that he might be piqued about foreign press coverage - which can be regarded as being objective (even if some of it comes from Murdoch owned papers).   I do not doubt that he is an expert politician, knows that saying the same thing often enough becomes truth, etc etc - but whether he is good for Italy is a different argument - I cannot respect a prime minister who says that only the stupid pay taxes.  We look to politicians and especially high government office to set the example - and he is sadly lacking in that area. 

It's true Hitler was involved in an atttempted coup in Bavaria and was imprisoned, but was democratically elected to parliament afterwards.   Berlusconi was prosecuted in the P2 trial - with P2, we are led to understand, wanting to change the government of Italy.  Last week he has been clearly implicated and indicted in the Fininvest scandal with a fine of 750 million euros.   Other court cases at - some dropped due to the statute of limitations passed by Berlusconi,  which also came into effect in the bribes to Craxi case.   He has also been indicted in Spain for tax fraud.I dont think anyone on this thread who has opposing ideas to yours is being anti-democratic, they are merely enjoying the democratic freedom to air their opinions without being harangued and blasted as communists,  as the Prime Minister seems to do to anyone who disagrees with him.  His outburst on Porta a Porta last week was shameful - but to be expected. I don't quite understnad your argument that Italians have more right to elect a government than others.  Presumably the same argument would make the British election system only open to those who are British, even though there are Non Brits who have lived in Britain for many years..  Personally, having voluntarily cut all ties with the UK, except for my passport, I would not vote, even though eligibile, in a British election, whereas your point of view would be that even though I might live here for 40 years, pay taxes, provide work,  support the community and have permanent residency would not qualify me to vote in my adopted country - because Im british.  I can however, vote for David Cameron even though I have nothing to do with UK in any shape or form - a strange idea of democracy at work.   

In reply to by Ram

With respect, and as a matter of fact, Hitler was never elected to power through democratic means. He lost the first two rounds of the election in 1932 and his supporters responded with violence and murder which lead to martial law being declared in Berlin.  He eventually exploited the situation to force Hindenberg to declare him Chancellor.  The rest at least is well known...I did not say that holding opposing views to mine was undemocratic. Presenting the opposition's views as somehow more valid than those of government supporters is undemocratic.  Everyone is entitled to their views and entitled to express them.  Those who are entitled to vote also can make their choice in the election.I think that allowing people to vote in a national election of the basis of residency is flawed.  Anyone who stays in a EU country for more than a few months has to apply for residency there.  I do not think that being in any particular country for a matter of months qualifies someone to particpate in a national election. If somebody makes a commitment to live their life permanently in another country, and they wish to participate fully in the life of that country, they have the option of taking out citizenship there. That entitles them to vote in a national election.If you have decided you wish to remain a British citizen and retain your passport, despite leaving the country, why would you not want to continue to have a say in the future of Britain? In fact, as a citizen of the UK some would say that you have a responsibility to vote in the national election. (At least for 15 years after leaving) There are many people who visit Britain to work for a few years.  Presumably they have to take up residency there.  I do not think that they should have the right to vote in a national election when they could very well leave to return to their country of citizenship immediately afterwards.  Rights should also come with responsibilities. 

  Italy sees purple over politics Italians fed up with the political parties on offer have begun their own pressure group, the Purple People Movement. Supporters, who wear purple, say Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has brought shame on the country with a series of scandals, while the official opposition is doing little to tackle the problem. Duncan Kennedy reports from Rome.

  We watched the BBC 2 documentary this evening.  Very interesting. Did anyone else see it? Sex scandals, divorce and a brutal assault in Milan, 2009 was a tough year for Silvio Berlusconi. Reporter Mark Franchetti returns to the country of his birth to assess one of the world's most controversial and flamboyant leaders. Franchetti finds an Italy divided between those who love Silvio and those who hate him. His story reads like a soap opera, but, despite the public blunders and scandals, despite the allegations of Mafia collusion and financial corruption, Berlusconi seems to thrive in the face of adversity. Few other leaders could survive - can Berlusconi continue to defy his critics?


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