Italy has spoken

ITALY has spoken out and the verdict is against Silvio Berlusconi. According to the last results at the time of writing, former prime minister Romano Prodi is set to return to power. This is why it's surprising that Berlusconi should refuse to concede victory to Prodi.

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Published: Wed 12 Apr 2006, 10:28 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:56 PM

It looks like all that power —of office and considerable wealth —has gone to his head. But given Berlusconi’s preoccupation with power, it is only understandable that the high-flying business tycoon and flamboyant prime minister should find it hard to accept his defeat and bow out gracefully.

Truth be told, Berlusconi ran Italy like his media empire —turning on his charm to win friends and throwing weight around to influence people. But the media mogul needs to be reminded that Italy is not one of his giant corporations and Italian voters are not pliable board members who could be bought or bullied. The office of the chief executive or prime minister is a responsibility that is subject to the discretion of voters. Berlusconi should accept the people’s verdict in all humility and prepare himself to play the role of a vigilant and responsible opposition. That is what democracy is all about.

Romano Prodi, the former prime minister who is widely respected across Europe for his EU role, has an uphill task ahead. He could have certainly done with a more decisive mandate and more powers to make a substantial shift from the path chosen by Berlusconi. A thin victory margin in lower house and dead heat race in senate means opposition would be breathing down Prodi’s neck in the next five years, that is, if he survives for five years.

Unlike Berlusconi, Prodi is not keen to play second fiddle to Bush. He has vowed to build stronger ties with European neighbours and has vowed to withdraw Italian troops from Iraq. Change is in the air.

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