Does the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti mean the end of the country's reform program? There have already been signs of a return to old ways. Former premier Silvio Berlusconi has announced he will stand for his old job in next year's elections. His chances of emerging victorious are slim, but many fear a fourth term in office could spell disaster for both Italy and the Euro.
Many Italians have found Mario Monti's austerity program a bitter pill to swallow. Silvio Berlusconi's party wants to capitalize on this bad blood and has already withdrawn its support for Monti's technocratic government. New elections have been slated for early 2013.
Observers rate Berlusconi's chances of edging out the leader of Italy's centre-left Democratic Party, Pier Luigi Bersani, as slim. But if he exploits his media connections and gets his tactics right, Berlusconi could well manage to shoot down many of the government's reforms. European Union officials are becoming increasingly concerned that he could undo much of Mario Monti’s hard work. Others think that the return of Berlusconi might just do the trick in waking the Italian people from their political slumber.
Berlusconi, for his part, is hoping his campaign will help him retain his immunity from prosecution. Just weeks ago, he was found guilty in the first instance of tax evasion and sentenced to four years behind bars. If he's also found guilty of alleged abuse of office and paying an underage girl for sex, they'll be no escape this time for Italy's political Houdini.
Tell us what you think: The Italian Drama - Tragedy for Europe?
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Laura Lucchini - After studying communication sciences at university in Milan and Madrid, she completed a master’s degree in journalism in Buenos Aires. Today, she is a freelance journalist for the Argentinean newspaper “La Nación”, the “El País” in Spain, and the Italian publications “Linkiesta” and “L´Unità.”
Theodore Kouvakas - studied art history in Florence and architecture in Venice, and trained to become a journalist. In the 1980s, he wrote for a range of media outlets. Kouvakas covered foreign policy and financial markets for Imerissia SA, a financial and business newspaper. Since 2010, he had served as Berlin correspondent for Real Media SA. Now he is the correspondent of the greek weekly newspaper “Paraskeri kai Dekatris” in Berlin. His areas of expertise include European financial markets and foreign policy. Kouvakas also has a strong interest in cultural topics.
Ursula Weidenfeld - has a PhD in history from the University of Bonn and studied journalism at the Holtzbrinck School in Düsseldorf. She became Berlin correspondent and a deputy editor at the magazine “Wirtschaftswoche” before going on to head the corporations desk at the Financial Times Deutschland. In 2001 she took on the job of economics editor at the daily “Der Tagesspiegel” in Berlin. From May of 2008 until January of 2009, Weidenfeld was also editor-in-chief at the business magazine “Impulse “. The journalist regularly writes for the financial daily “Handelsblatt”, and a collection of those articles has been published in book form. Ursula Weidenfel was granted the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Commentary. She is currently a freelancer.