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Silvio Berlusconi, former thrice-elected prime minister of Italy, passes away at 86

by Joshua Brown
5 comments
Silvio Berlusconi Obituary

Silvio Berlusconi, who wielded immense influence over Italy, leading it to the brink of financial collapse, has passed away.

Berlusconi’s affluence, charisma, and bold, boastful demeanor were admired by many Italians, making him the country’s longest-serving prime minister. His tenure was marked by persistent corruption scandals, diplomatic blunders, and allegations of misconduct, including infamous “bunga bunga” parties. However, he maintained his political influence throughout.

Berlusconi passed away on Monday at the age of 86. He once stated in 2009 that the majority of Italians aspired to be like him. This admiration dwindled in 2011 when Italy’s economy crumbled during Europe’s debt crisis, with many attributing the downfall to Berlusconi. This led to his ousting from office and marked the end of his final term as prime minister, spanning over 17 years.

His political party, Forza Italia, lost significant support in recent years but continued to work in coalition with the current Premier Giorgia Meloni, who took office in 2022. However, Berlusconi held no government position at the time of his death.

He was hospitalized in the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan on Friday for chronic leukemia treatment, marking his second recent hospitalization. A state funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at the city’s Duomo cathedral, as stated by the Milan Archdiocese.

Formerly the richest man in Italy, Berlusconi utilized his media empire to propel his extensive political career, generating a mix of loyalty and disdain. His supporters saw him as a dynamic and capable leader aiming to enhance Italy’s global status. Critics, however, viewed him as a populist leveraging his political power to further enrich himself and his businesses.

Despite these criticisms, it’s undeniable that Berlusconi transformed Italian politics when he joined the public sector in the 1990s, incorporating U.S.-inspired campaigns. Legal cases against him often resulted in dismissals or victory on appeal due to Italy’s slow judicial system. The only conviction that remained was for tax fraud, related to a film rights deal.

Despite being stripped of his Senate seat and banned from public office for a few years following the conviction, Berlusconi returned to the European Parliament as a lawmaker at the age of 82 and re-entered Italy’s Senate in 2022.

Forza Italia, the center-right party he founded upon entering politics, started losing voters due to the absence of a clear successor. Subsequently, Berlusconi’s political stature was overshadowed first by the League, led by anti-migrant populist Matteo Salvini, and then by Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party. Berlusconi assisted Meloni in forming a government following the 2022 elections.

Even though Berlusconi was no longer Italy’s wealthiest individual, his vast media empire and luxury real estate portfolio solidified his billionaire status.

In 2013, Berlusconi was involved in a scandal with an underage Moroccan dancer, leading to initial charges of paying for sex with a minor and using his position to cover it up. He and the dancer both denied the accusations, and he was ultimately acquitted.

Berlusconi’s term from 2001-06 was possibly his most successful period, with him becoming Italy’s longest-serving prime minister and fostering a close relationship with U.S. President George W. Bush. In spite of this, Berlusconi faced significant opposition at home and abroad.

Berlusconi, who considered himself a self-made man, attributed his success to hard work. Known for his vibrant social life, he was a constant fixture in the media with stories of his lively parties and

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Silvio Berlusconi Obituary

What was Silvio Berlusconi known for?

Silvio Berlusconi was a prominent Italian politician and media mogul known for his wealth, charisma, and numerous controversies. He served three terms as Italy’s Prime Minister, making him the longest-serving premier in the country.

When did Silvio Berlusconi pass away?

Silvio Berlusconi passed away on a Monday in June 2023, at the age of 86.

What was Silvio Berlusconi’s professional background?

Before entering politics, Silvio Berlusconi was a successful businessman, notably in media. He owned the country’s three largest private TV networks, magazines, a daily newspaper, and advertising and film companies. His wealth and influence in the media played a significant role in his political career.

What political party did Berlusconi lead?

Berlusconi was the founder and leader of the Forza Italia political party, which held significant influence in Italian politics.

What scandals were associated with Berlusconi?

Berlusconi faced numerous scandals throughout his life, including corruption trials, diplomatic gaffes, and allegations surrounding sex-fueled “bunga bunga” parties at his villas. Only one charge, tax fraud related to a film rights deal, resulted in a conviction.

How did Berlusconi’s political career end?

Berlusconi’s final term as premier ended abruptly in 2011 when he was forced to resign due to Italy’s spiraling economy during Europe’s debt crisis. Despite being banned from public office for several years following a tax fraud conviction, he later returned to the political scene and regained a seat in the Senate in 2022.

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5 comments

Lucia Bianchi June 12, 2023 - 4:37 pm

It’s crazy to think about all the things Berlusconi got away with during his time in politics. I wonder how Italy’s history would’ve turned out different if he wasn’t a part of it…

Reply
Maria Conti June 13, 2023 - 12:58 am

Berlusconi…you either loved him or hated him. There was no in between. It’s undeniable though that his impact on Italy was massive.

Reply
Franco Rinaldi June 13, 2023 - 1:00 am

the man, the myth, the legend… Whatever you think of him, you can’t deny he shaped modern Italy. And, for better or worse, Berlusconi will always be remembered.

Reply
Giovanni Moretti June 13, 2023 - 3:05 am

Gosh, such a complex personality. Berlusconi had a huge influence, both positive and negative, on Italy and its politics. Despite everything, he made a mark.

Reply
Mario Rossi June 13, 2023 - 2:54 pm

Wow, this is a detailed obituary. i didn’t know some of these facts about Berlusconi’s life! He really was a controversial figure, wasn’t he?

Reply

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