Silvio Berlusconi and Silvio Monti: The Italian Left and the People of Freedom

Italy’s Next Government Hinges on a Familiar Face: Silvio Berlusconi

The two main parties campaigning within the Italian parliament—the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party led by Premier Mario Monti and the center-left Democratic Party (PD) under the leadership of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi—face one another on May 6.

For the past two years, the two leaders have been locked in a deadly battle. The stakes have been high on both sides.

“The PD is being run as Berlusconi’s party. There’s no difference between Berlusconi and the PD,” said Silvio Berlusconi, now 82 years old, in an exclusive interview.

He says Monti, whom he served as premier and Italy’s foreign minister before succeeding him in 2001, is “the most dangerous politician on the Italian political scene. [He’s] a person who has used violence.”

And he adds, “The PD is Berlusconi’s party. He was a leader in the ’80s and ’90s when [former Prime Minister Francisco] Franco was the leader and made himself the undisputed leader of a [reformist] center-right party. Then [he] went to [Italy’s] top political job.”

That’s what has led to the war of words between the two parties for control of the Italian government and the Italian people. The stakes are high on both sides.

On one side is the PD. The party has been in power for the past four years. It has a majority in both houses of the Italian parliament, but Berlusconi’s party, the right-wing, pro-business Northern League, is expected to form a coalition with the PD after the election.

The other side are the forces of Italy’s left, led by the communists and various liberal and “progressive” parties. These forces seek to form a “government of the streets”—a parliament and administration that would be responsive to the demands of the masses.

In other words, the communist, leftist, socialist, and “

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