European Elections

Berlusconi in shock return: Ex-Italy PM could be KINGMAKER in election and reform EU

FORMER Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi could hold the balance of power after the country’s general election.

The 80-year-old’s three terms as Prime Minister were rocked by frequent controversies, before he was forced to quit in 2011.But political experts predict he could make a comeback by becoming Italy‘s “new kingmaker” in the upcoming poll.

Dr Kostas Maronitis, of Leeds Trinity University, said Mr Berlusconi’s centre-right party Forza Italia had been boosted by local election results.

The centre-right parties did very well at the local elections

Dr Kostas Maronitis

He told “The centre-right parties led by Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini [of Lega Norda] did very well at the local elections.”Berlusconi might be the new kingmaker in the terms of who’s going to be in power in the upcoming elections.

“It will be very interesting to see if Berlusconi will collaborate with Germany and France, or if he’s going to be more populist.

Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe GrilloGETTY

Former Italy PM Silvio Berlusconi could hold the balance of power

“As the head of a centre-right party, he won’t argue for a complete, radical break with the EU, but he might be critical of the EU.”There is place for right wing politics in Italy, but I’m not sure if Italian people have the stamina to leave the European Union.

“The idea of staying in the EU but hoping to reform it in some way would be more appealing to the Italian electorate.”

Silvio BerlusconiGETTY

Berlusconi’s three terms in power were rocked by controversies

Dr Maronitis said there were several factors behind Berlusoconi’s recent resurgence.He said: “It might be down to nostalgia movement, the Italian people might think times were better under his premiership.

“Another reason is the great disappointment of the eurosceptic populists like Beppe Grillo of the Five Star Movement (M5S), which has lost momentum.

“Berlusconi’s potential success at the forthcoming election rests on the inability or impotence of his political opponents.”

Paolo GentiloniGETTY

The Italian general election is due to be held before spring 2018

The Italian election, which is due to be held before spring 2018, could have major consequences for the EU.Recent opinion polls suggest the ruling Democratic Party (PD) is losing ground to Mr Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Mr Salvini’s Lega Norda.

And the M5S, which wants Italy to quit the euro, edged ahead of the PD in a bombshell Ipsos survey published last month.

The poll, conducted for Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, put the M5S 27.6 per cent, with the PD trailing with 26.9 per cent.

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