It’s been, as our dad was wont to say, a coon’s age since we last wrote about the ongoing European debacle.
But the passage of weeks has wrought little in the way of substantial change in the patterns we devoted so much time and energy to charting. Spain is still screwed and Greece remains headed over the edge of the abyss.
And as for Italy. . .
Well, just consider this cover from Liberation, heralding the Mummy’s return:
Yep, that’s none other that Silvio “Bunga Bunga” Berlusconi, whose party has dropped its endorsement of Troika-imposed Mario Monti, who was forced to hand in his prime ministerial papers Friday, paving the way for the greatest comeback ever.
From the BBC:
Mario Monti has resigned as Italian prime minister, officials say, keeping a promise to step down after the passing of his budget by parliament.
MPs earlier passed the 2013 budget drawn up by his government with 309 votes in favour and 55 against.
An announcement on whether Mr Monti will take part in elections – expected in February – will probably be made at a news conference on Sunday.
Read the rest.
Andrea Vogt of the London Telegraph adds:
He handed in his resignation to President Giorgio Napolitano on Friday after passage of the 2013 budget.
“The government has now terminated its role, but not because of the Mayan prophecy,” he joked with staff after attending a morning mass.
In his last formal act as prime minister he spoke to Italy’s foreign ambassadors, stressing the importance of continued close economic and military collaboration with European partners and the United States.
“Since I am about to give my resignation, I want to thank you now for sharing with me these very difficult but fascinating 13 months,” he told the diplomats, who gave him a standing ovation.
Read the rest.
Berlusconi, the Rupert Murdoch of The Boot, could use another stint in office, what with the prosecutorial immunity election guarantees.
Seems the septuagenarian lecher is facing criminal charges of sex with a minor and other assorted felonies, and the key figure in the case, known as Ruby the Heartstealer, is headed back to Italy next month, clearing the way for a criminal trial.
So the former lounge singer turned billionaire media mogul needs a handy election to say his bacon, and his media empire is spinning mightily to sway the electorate.
Hans-Jürgen Schlamp of Spiegel reports:
Silvio Berlusconi is a man driven by fear, but also one whose political war coffers are flush with cash. He’s in control of three TV stations and has hundreds of experts at shaping public opinion at his disposal. That’s the starting point for Berlusconi’s election campaign. Already, his campaign machine is running at full steam. And although this campaign can at times come across as imbecilic or insane, is actually the product of savvy media professionals. Pollsters measure the mood of the people every day and track what is and isn’t working for the Berlusconi camp.
These days, the news they have to share is positive. Berlusconi’s People of Freedom Party (PdL) has gained three percentage points in the polls in recent days. Of course, so far only 17 percent of Italians say they are actually prepared to elect the former prime minister again. But that number could grow once the Berlusconi Show gets into full swing.
He will have to act fast though. Italian law limits the exposure of politicians on television during the 45 days leading up to an election, so Berlusconi only has until early January to convince Italians that he can deliver the brave new world he has promised. The big media push has to come now — and Berlusconi is already hard at work.
Read the rest.
Scaring the bejeezus out of Europols
Mario “Three-card” Monti has been basking in waves of adulation from an assortment of European politicians and Troikarchs. That’s because the resurrection of the Baron of Bunga Bunga scares the crap out of them.
The London Telegraph offers one reason what Berlusconi’s comeback frightens them so much:
Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has said Italy would be forced to leave the eurozone unless the European Central Bank Continue reading