Silvio's back Berlusconi returns to the campaign trail


It is perhaps no coincidence that Silvio Berlusconi has made his electoral move in the very week that millions of Italian households have to make their second property tax payment of the year.

Furthermore, he has already said he will abolish the tax if he is returned to office next year.

For much of the last year, even though he has seemed uncomfortable with his supporting role to the Monti government, Berlusconi has consistently said he would not be running for office.

His position appeared to change radically in late October after he received a four-year sentence from a Milan court for tax fraud by his Mediaset TV company.

On the day after that ruling, he indicated clearly that he would be returning to the political fray.

At the age of 76, Berlusconi returns to perhaps the one thing he does best in political life, namely election campaigning.

Many argue that he is again motivated by a desire to protect both himself (he is still being tried for involvement in

underage prostitution) and his huge business interests.

He will doubtless go looking for votes from some of the 50 per cent of Italians who claim to be “angry” with politicians.

However, he may have his work cut out: opinion polls currently accredit his PDL with a mere 14-18 per cent of the vote, in contrast to the 38 per cent returned in the 2008 general election.

Furthermore, his involvement in a series of sex scandals may well have cost him much of the centre-right Catholic vote.

Not for nothing, the Catholic L’Avvenire newspaper yesterday called on Monti to again step into the breach on behalf of Italy.