jump to navigation

A new Mussolini or Caesar? March 30, 2009

Posted by Sverre in : World politics , comments closed

The controversial Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi has the wind in his sails as he surges towards increased power in Italy. His right-wing alliance was recently united into the party Il Popolo della Libertà (People of Freedom) under his leadership, and the first thing put on the agenda was giving more power to the Prime Minister.

The Italian premier apparently feels that the parliament is unwieldy and dominated by an “irresponsible opposition“, making changes to the consitution necessary. According to Financial Times, he proclaimed that:

The constitution must be enriched and revitalised … The powers of the prime minister are almost non-existent … The country needs to be governed.

Several commenters speculate that what he wants to achieve is transforming the figurehead position of the Italian president into an active executive position with extended powers like France or the United States.

With personal control of more than 90% of broadcast media through active ownership, he is already the most powerful politician in Italy since Mussolini, and many now seem to be afraid of the emergence of a new authoritarian rule in Italy. Letting the military spearhead a new crackdown on crime is especially worrisome.

I don’t know Italian politics nearly well enough to speculate on the nature of Berlusconi’s plans, but Julius Caesar’s famous crossing of the Rubicon with his legions does come to mind – Alea Iacta Est.