Berlusconi’s frantic maneuvers before the Italian political elections are paying dividends.
According to a poll by Ipso commissioned by the newspaper Corriere della Sera, Berlusconi’s party and its allies, while still losing on a national scale, are going to win in Lombardy, the rich Italian region where Mr. Berlusconi built his business empire and that afterwards became his political fief.
If Mr. Berlusconi’s coalition won in Lombardy then the leftist Democratic Party, while still retaining a majority in the House of Deputies, would narrowly lose control of the Senate.
In Italy, no Bill can be passed without the vote of the Senate, which also has the power to dismiss the Government.
Mr. Berlusconi’s efforts, however, could benefit the current technocratic prime minister Mario Monti rather than himself. Mr. Monti’s centrist-Catholic coalition, in fact, would become a necessary ally for the Democratic Party in order to establish a Government.
Mr. Berlusconi hopes that the leftist wing of the Democratic Party, rather than taking the hated Mr. Monti aboard, will opt for a German-style Grosse Koalition with his party.
Yesterday, Mr. Berlusconi said he is willing to work with any party after the elections, a message which was clearly directed to the Democratic Party. This is an usual opening by Mr. Berlusconi, who usually labels the Democratic Party as a nest of communists.
His hopes look largely unfounded, however. The leftist wing of the Democratic Party, while disliking Mr. Monti’s economic policies, hates Berlusconi much more.
Mr. Monti himself was clearly offended by the sudden attacks he suffered by Mr. Berlusconi’s party, and will give support to the Democratic Party rather than seeing the Cavaliere back to power.