Silvio Berlusconi, a former Italian prime minister, passed away at age 86.

Italian Prime Minister and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi passes away
Italian Prime Minister and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi passes away

Italian Prime Minister and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi passes away at age 86.

Italian Prime Minister and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi passes away
Italian Prime Minister and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi passes away

He used a combination of showman charm, scofflaw bombast, and ruthless use of his financial and political power to rule and divide his country for decades.

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi passed away on June 12 in a Milan hospital. He was a media tycoon who for decades divided and ruled his nation with a combination of showman charm, scofflaw bombast, and ruthless use of financial and political power. He was 86.

According to Italian media conventions, a spokeswoman for Mr. Berlusconi acknowledged the death to The Washington Post but declined to give a cause of death. He had a history of heart issues as well as leukaemia.

Right-leaning politician Mr. Berlusconi had held the position of prime minister four times since 1994. He had established a multimillion dollar corporate empire, making him one of the richest men in the world. Through his holding firm, Mr Berlusconi had influence over A.C. Milan, a top-tier football team, as well as television networks, newspapers, life insurance, and movie production companies.

The millionaire prime minister made himself sound “the best in the world” in a usual flourish of swagger. “All the other leaders of the world wish they were as good as I am,” he said. Everything was exaggerated. He called supporters from the hospital after learning he had covid-19 in 2020, saying that his case was “in the top five in terms of the strength of the virus

The little colossus ruled the small Italian peninsula for more than three decades, controlling the media, wielding political influence, and inspiring both allies and enemies to fantasies about him.

Il Cavaliere, often known as the Knight, accomplished this much on his own terms. He entered the acrimonious political arena on the back of his television airwaves and used every tool at his disposal to disarm the opposition, lasso a coalition out of rival allies, and, most importantly, fight for his own life.
The routine business of the state was frequently put on hold due to Mr. Berlusconi’s obsession with defending himself against opponents that were both genuine and made up.

Italy fell into social decay and economic ruin while Mr. Berlusconi was preoccupied. Ultimately, the Milan businessman’s efforts to promote free markets failed because they lacked faith in his capacity to lead the nation out of a 2011 fiscal crisis. This resulted in his removal.

After losing and being found guilty of tax fraud, the man who had pledged to save Rome was reduced to a perma-tanned caricature who was renowned around the world for following his own interests, making friends with foreign tyrants, and having relationships with much younger women, some of whom were purportedly employed.

However, Mr. Berlusconi continued to play a crucial role within Italy, recast himself as a reassuring grandfather figure, kingmaker, and voice of reason as the nation veered even more to the right under populist politicians.

The majority of the populace believed Berlusconi could bring about change. Roberto D’Alimonte, a political scientist at the Luiss university in Rome, remarked of him, “He seemed new. “Some people will remember him as a man who could have contributed more to the nation’s modernization. Others will view him as Italy’s greatest social corruptor, and it will take a generation for society to recover from the gloom he brought about.

Mr. Berlusconi, who stands 5 feet 5 inches tall, has a chubby physique, a creative hairline, and a tangerine complexion, has dominated debate issues for the entirety of his tenure in the spotlight. He struggled to stay away even after leaving his job.
As prime minister, Mr. Berlusconi was elected three times, including once for a five-year period in a country used to

His supporters credit him with changing a politically entrenched system and motivating an entire generation of business owners. He revitalized the lifeless state-run television network for them, modernized markets, won football championships with AC Milan, and created a formidable center-right party from nothing.

By adapting cult-of-personality promotion for the age of mass media, Mr. Berlusconi revolutionized political campaigning in Italy. He presented himself as an unstoppable individualist and a down-to-earth commoner wrongly treated by communist judges, professors from ivory towers, and bureaucratic naysayers. He discussed tax and spending cuts, topics that the government-dependent gerontocracy rarely discussed. From the television channels, magazine covers, newspaper articles, and highway billboards he owned, his airbrushed face gazed over Italy.

That positive side of Mr. Berlusconi overshadowed the negative side put forth by his persistently irate detractors both domestically and internationally. It also covered up a life that would have been exceptional even without Photoshop, one that was full of sex scandals, courtroom drama, and political intrigue. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Mr. Berlusconi was the most colorful leader in Europe.

History Of Silvio Berlusconi

In Milan, Italy, on September 29, 1936, a banker and a housewife gave birth to Silvio Berlusconi. In college, he wrote papers for other students to make extra money. Through the sale of vacuum cleaners and his participation in a band that performed at resorts and cruise ships, he was able to finance his law degree at the University of Milan in 1961.
By the age of 27, he had established a real estate business, earning him the moniker “King of Bricks,” and had begun construction on Milano 2, a sizable suburb that served as the foundation for his aspirations.

Berlusconi ate up regional TV networks. He sent motorbike couriers to transport taped videocassettes to local stations in order to get around an Italian rule at the time that only permitted state-owned networks to broadcast live countrywide.

Mr. Berlusconi had support from powerful people. A moderate Socialist Party leader named Bettino Craxi became the country’s prime minister in 1983, the same year Silvio Berlusconi ascended to the top of the Italian media. The two men understood right once that they could aid one another in gaining control.

In 1983 and 1984, when Craxi was in charge, Mr. Berlusconi introduced two more national networks. For the privilege to broadcast American sitcoms and films, he forked over billions of dollars. Millions of spectators flocked in to watch reruns of American soap operas like “Dallas” or the Italian striptease show “Colpo Grosso,” which was presented as a game show.

Mr. Berlusconi diversified. He adopted advertising adages like “Always carry the sun in your pocket!” He added an advertising division, a chain of department stores, a movie production firm, radio, newspapers, and magazines, as well as A.C. Milan in 1986, under the umbrella company Fin invest. The group developed into a political metaphor powerhouse.

Additionally, Mr. Berlusconi’s detractors said that in return for Craxi’s political protection, he gave his patron favorable press coverage and a large sum of money. According to Italian authorities, Craxi, who left his position in 1987, got millions of dollars from Mr. Berlusconi’s Fin invest that were deposited into secret Swiss bank accounts.

The two men got along well. Craxi served as best man during Mr. Berlusconi’s 1990 wedding to Veronica Lario, his second wife, whom he had met ten years earlier when she appeared in a play at a Milan theatre he owned while performing topless. (He had been married to Carla Dall’Oglio, with whom he had two children, when they first met.) Three more children were born to Mr. Berlusconi. 2014 saw the couple’s divorce.

His children, a brother, 15 grandchildren, and a great-grandchild are among his survivors.

His attempt to acquire a publishing company in 1990 ran into a legal snag, which led to decades of bribery investigations against Mr. Berlusconi.

When prosecutors initiated the “Clean Hands” investigation in 1992 and exposed the “Bribesville” corruption culture, the political system in which Mr. Berlusconi thrived was overthrown. The scandal not only decimated the morally flexible Christian Democratic political establishment, but it also brought down Craxi, who was Mr. Berlusconi’s political friend and who had fled to Tunisia in 1994 to escape prosecution for corruption.

In the same year, Mr. Berlusconi took action because his allies were out of office and his left-leaning rivals were determined to dismantle his indebted corporate empire.

On January 26, 1994, Mr Berlusconi made a dramatic declaration on his television news programm that he would, in football slang, “take the pitch” to defend the nation from anti-free market communists who “do not believe in the individual.”

He established the political party Forza Italia, which was given the nation’s football anthem (“Go Italy”) as its name, and filled it with his own marketing professionals. To increase efficiency, he promised to lower taxes and further privatize the public sector.

Mr. Berlusconi was chosen to be the new prime minister three months after entering the race.

Opposition leaders pressed Mr. Berlusconi to sell off his businesses to prevent a conflict of interest during a large portion of his first term in power, but in vain. They criticized his order banning arrests for political corruption and fraud, which released thousands of Bribesville defendants, maybe including his brother.

After seven months, Mr. Berlusconi’s coalition government was overthrown. The critics of Mr. Berlusconi exhaled a sigh of relief, writing him off as a passing incident in Italian politics. However, he solidified his position as the head of a new center-right movement while living in political exile. The left-leaning government suffered from internal strife and failed to enact substantive conflict-of-interest rules. Mr. Berlusconi had another opportunity to gain control in 2001, and he seized it.

Escalating controversies and accusations

In June of that year, Mr. Berlusconi retook government with a solid coalition and broad support. He was also no longer a beginner. He controlled for five years in a row while deftly navigating internal conflicts among his allies. Affirming his commitment to the United States at the time, he also made friends with strongmen like Vladimir Putin of Russia, whom he donned fuzzy hats to a Black Sea dacha with. He developed a friendship with Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, whom he happily allowed to serve as the ringmaster in a Rome ceremony complete with Bedouins on thoroughbreds, in part to stop migratory waves from northern Africa.

Additionally, it was a time when Mr. Berlusconi’s fury, raunchy sense of humor, and loose speech made him the king of the gaffe. He declared to the New York Stock Exchange that “another reason to invest in Italy is that we have beautiful secretaries,” compared a German lawmaker to a Nazi concentration camp guard, and claimed that Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini never “killed anyone.”

More specifically, Mr. Berlusconi’s growing number of detractors alleged that the prime leader was abusing his official authority for legal protection, devoting time and effort to squeezing custom legislation through Parliament to preserve his corporate empire and save himself from punishment.”You can’t talk about a conflict of interest if I look out for everyone’s interests while simultaneously looking out for mine.

Italian judges charged Mr. Berlusconi with a variety of crimes, including tax evasion, bribery, and association with the Mafia. Numerous trials against Mr. Berlusconi during his time in and out of office resulted in acquittals or were barred by statutes of limitations.

Perhaps Mr. Berlusconi’s most significant contribution to his nation’s criminal justice system was his relentless portrayal of its judges as a politically motivated conspiracy of communists, or “red robes,” as he dubbed them. This demonizing, which came from the country’s leader and was echoed by all of his media channels, weakened trust in a crucial, if failing, democratic institution.

Mr. Berlusconi failed to win reelection in 2006. His steadfast support for the United States and its war in Iraq, to which he sent Italian troops, hurt his popularity. Left-leaning opposition members believed they had permanently vanquished their plague. They also began referring to him in the past tense after he passed out on stage during a political rally in 2006 and underwent heart surgery. again, too soon.

Even while it was fierce, the socialist opposition to Mr. Berlusconi was unable to reinvent itself, provide a viable political alternative, or win over voters in the more independent northern areas.

Mr. Berlusconi came back in April 2008 and strengthened his position. Despite having such a large majority in both chambers of Parliament, he once more passed rules to shield himself from punishment, making further anger appear pointless.

When Mr. Berlusconi appeared to be most impenetrable, his own desires contributed to his self-destruction.

Veronica Berlusconi referred to her husband’s proposal to award prospective showgirls seats in Parliament as “shameless trash” in April 2009. She made the announcement that she was leaving the guy who ‘consorts with minors’ five days later, in apparent allusion to Mr Berlusconi’s presence at the 18th birthday party of a knickers model in Naples who went by the name ‘Papi’.

An unstable guy broke Mr. Berlusconi’s teeth and nose by striking him in the face with a figurine of the Milan Cathedral at the end of the summer. The assault returned Mr. Berlusconi to his chosen political victimization. As his popularity in the polls increased, Mr. Berlusconi resumed selecting former nude models to serve on city councils, in the Parliament, and in his cabinet.

Then, in 2010, at the age of 74, Mr. Berlusconi was charged with paying for sex with Karima El Mahroug, a Moroccan minor known as Ruby the Heart Stealer. More ladies came forward, spilling the beans about the bacchanalian “bunga bunga” parties that had captivated the attention of the globe.

Hours of embarrassing phone transcripts were found throughout the investigations. They portrayed Mr. Berlusconi as a deranged leader who boasted about his sexual prowess and warned against engaging in too much nighttime activities due to an early-morning encounter with the pope. (Mr. Berlusconi was acquitted in February 2023 on charges of witness tampering and found not guilty in the “bunga bunga” trials.)

Mr. Berlusconi persevered despite resurgent public fury and mutinies within his coalition, surviving 53 confidence votes in only his most recent term. The economy of his country ultimately defeated the weak businessman who claimed economic competence when he assumed leadership.

Economic instability and ultimate failure Berlusconi

His opponents were unable to prevent his downfall, but a debt crisis did. Italy’s massive debt was subject to skyrocketing borrowing costs as a result of international financial markets’ lack of faith in the country’s capacity for growth.

Mr. Berlusconi resigned to assuage investors who had doubts about his ability to lead. A choir spontaneously assembled outside the presidential palace and sang the “Hallelujah Chorus” as he submitted his formal resignation.

The humiliations kept coming. His Senate seat was taken away, and he lost his parliamentary immunity, after he was found guilty of tax fraud in 2012. He was given a prison sentence, which was later commuted to several months of nursing home community work.

Even though Mr. Berlusconi was struggling, he was still standing. At the age of 81, he ran for office again after waiting out a prohibition until 2018. By that point, he had lost his edge and was being overshadowed by the populist leaders whose rise he had assisted in fostering. However, his failure to support populist administrations or to join them after they fell contributed to his reputation as a centrist and helped bring in the pro-European technocrat Mario Draghi’s administration.

Georgia Melony, Draghi’s successor, was elected in 2022, and Mr. Berlusconi’s party joined Meloni’s right-leaning coalition, keeping him in the electoral fray. The coalition hit a stumbling block when Melony was referred to in a memo that was allegedly authored by Mr. Berlusconi as “bossy” and “arrogant.” Then Melony chastised Mr.

They united in a public display a few weeks later. Mr. Berlusconi approached the situation as though he were endorsing her leadership. It is Giorgia’s responsibility to lead the coalition today, and he asserted that she is doing it with authority and credibility.


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