Silvio Berlusconi—a kind of Stephen Harper, but with girls—has survived a vote of confidence by the very slimmest of margins: 314-311. If it isn’t all over for the man who once passed a law to exempt himself from a bribery prosecution, it’s fair to say that the deathwatch begins today.
Berlusconi’s scandal-plagued reign did not keep him from three terms in office: he offered a kind of stability, like a predecessor once did, and Italians were prepared to forgive the bunga-bunga parties.
Outrageous public figures are generally described as “colourful.” If that’s code for Don Cherry-like loutishness, a predilection for skirt-chasing and up-to-the-neck involvement in countless scandals, it fits Berlusconi to a T. He’s apparently already dreaming of retirement: he wants to found a Berlusconi Leadership Academy. Dio ci aiuti.
Antonio Di Pietro, once an anti-corruption judge who currently leads the Italy of Values party (Italia dei Valori), put it best:
Whatever the result of the vote you have bought, one thing is clear. You (Mr. Berlusconi) do not have a political majority that would allow you to govern. Whether you like it or not, you have reached the end of the line for your political experience.
One can hope.