This is all Berlusconi’s fault!

At first, Silvio Berlusconi seemed like a promising prime minister. After all, he was a media mogul full of entrepreneurial spirit and bravado, which is what his supporters believed the country needed in order to modernize its economy.

They thought that his strong personality would translate well into the political scene. Boy, were they wrong!

As the prime minister from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to present, Berlusconi’s political career has been shrouded in controversy. His haters (and believe me, there are PLENTY of them) say he has brought nothing but shame and economic problems upon Italy.

Sex scandals and corruption cases abound.

Berlusconi has made quite a name for himself… but not always in a good way. His lewd and inappropriate words and gestures have been well-documented over the past ten years.

But these all pale in comparison to the allegations thrown at him late last year when a story blew up about Berlusconi hosting wild sex parties, some said to have involved a minor.

Aside from that, he has also been tried for several cases of bribery and corruption, some of them leading to convictions that were mysteriously set aside.

Under Berlusconi’s rule, Italy’s economy has deteriorated greatly.

Italy’s growth has been lagging behind its European counterparts. If you look at its GDP growth in the past 10 years or so, you will see that it averaged just about 0.25% per year, which is the third worst in the world. This is pretty bad considering the rest of Europe isn’t even doing that well!

On top of that, Italy’s public debt stands at 120% of its GDP, which is also the third highest in the world. Moody’s already warned the country of this, and threatened to cut Italy’s sovereign credit rating if it doesn’t get its finances in order. *cough* Greece *cough*

As former Italian governor Mario Draghi said in a speech, Italy’s problems are mainly the result of poor government policies. According to Draghi, the Italian government fails to encourage development as exemplified by the very slow judicial system, the poor educational system, and the monopolistic public and private services markets.

As much as I would like to give the man the benefit of the doubt, Berlusconi has been one of the primary reasons people have lost confidence not only in Italy, but the entire euro zone as well.

As Yoda would probably say, a successful businessman does not a good leader make. Political uncertainty in Italy is at an all-time high, especially with the upcoming confidence vote.

In fact, the voter support for Berlusconi sits at a mere 29%, the lowest ever recorded. If the government doesn’t make major structural reforms soon, it won’t be long until the market shifts its concern to Italy.

  • Martinius

    I’m living in Italy at the moment and I can’t but confirm what is mentioned in this article. Italy’s good name and the economy have been heavily shaken by Silvio’s pranks for more than a decade. We have seen promise after promise just disapper into thin air. It seems though that his days as a PM are coming to an end provided he doesn’t have yet another ace up his sleeve. The real problem though is any political alternative which is more or less absent or as clumsy as the current government. A change in direction won’t necessary be the solution to Italy’s problems as it could bring even more instability. Italians really are between the anvil and the hammer at the moment… Let’s hope for the best!

  • Alessandro

    I’m an italian student living in the UK and the situation in Italy is somewhat demeaning for me. My prime minister is often on the first pages of newspapers like The Times and Financial Times because of his scandals andĀ appallingĀ behavior. However the situation in Italy is way more complex than that, the whole political network is corrupt and in the Southern regions, were the mafia rather than the government is truly in charge, the GDP is almost a third of that of northern regions, which are culturally detached from their southern counterparts and where the mafia does not have a grasp. I sadly believe that, as of now, the best option for motivated italians is to get an education abroad and open up more opportunities for themselves, as the situation in Italy is very unstable indeed.