Berlusconis Italy: Mapping Contemporary Italian Politics
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Without dismissing the importance of personalities and political parties, it emphasizes the significance of changes in voting behaviors that led to the rise-and eventual fall-of Silvio Berlusconi, the millionaire media baron who became Prime Minist "Berlusconi's Italy" provides a fresh, thoroughly-informed account of how Italy's richest man came to be its political leader. Without dismissing the importance of personalities and political parties, it emphasizes the significance of changes in voting behaviors that led to the rise-and eventual fall-of Silvio Berlusconi, the millionaire media baron who became Prime Minister.
Armed with new data and new analytic tools, Michael Shin and John Agnew use recently developed methods of spatial analysis, to offer a compelling new argument about contextual re-creation and mutation. They reveal that regional politics and shifting geographical voting patterns were far more important to Berlusconi's successes than the widely-credited role of the mass media, and conclude that Berlusconi's success and later defeat can be best understood in geographic terms.
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All Languages. More filters. Sort order. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About Michael Shin. Berlusconi has developed a reputation for making gaffes or insensitive remarks. This incident caused a brief cooling of Italy's relationship with Germany. Addressing traders at the New York Stock Exchange in September , Berlusconi listed a series of reasons to invest in Italy, the first of which was that "we have the most beautiful secretaries in the world". This remark resulted in uproar in Italy where female members of parliament took part in a one-day cross-party protest.
In , during an interview with Nicholas Farrell, then editor of The Spectator , Berlusconi claimed that Mussolini "had been a benign dictator who did not murder opponents but sent them 'on holiday ' ". Berlusconi had made disparaging remarks about Finnish cuisine during negotiations to decide on the location of the European Food Safety Authority in He caused further offence in , when he claimed that during the negotiations he had had to "dust off his playboy charms" in order to persuade the Finnish president, Tarja Halonen , to concede that the EFSA should be based in Parma instead of Finland, and compared Finnish smoked reindeer unfavourably to culatello.
The Italian ambassador in Helsinki was summoned by the Finnish foreign minister. Halonen took the incident in good humour, retorting that Berlusconi had "overestimated his persuasion skills". The pizza won first prize in America's Plate International pizza contest in March In March , Berlusconi alleged that Chinese communists under Mao Zedong had "boiled [children] to fertilise the fields". In the run-up to the Italian general election , Berlusconi was angrily accused of sexism for saying that female politicians from the right were "more beautiful" and that "the left has no taste, even when it comes to women".
He also stated that he doubted that such a composition would be possible in Italy given the "prevalence of men" in Italian politics. Also in , Berlusconi caused controversy at a joint press conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin. When a journalist from the Russian paper Nezavisimaya Gazeta asked a question about Mr.
Putin's personal relationships, Berlusconi made a gesture towards the journalist imitating a gunman shooting. On 6 November , two days after Barack Obama was elected the first black US President, Berlusconi referred to Obama as "young, handsome and even tanned":    On 26 March he said "I'm paler [than Mr. Obama], because it's been so long since I went sunbathing. He's more handsome, younger and taller. On 24 January , Berlusconi announced his aim to increase the numbers of military patrolling the Italian cities from 3, to 30, in order to crack down on what he called an "evil army" of criminals.
Responding to a female journalist who asked him if this tenfold increase in patrolling soldiers would be enough to secure Italian women from being raped, he said: "We could not field a big enough force to avoid this risk [of rape]. We would need as many soldiers as beautiful women and I don't think that would be possible, because our women are so beautiful.
Berlusconi retorted that he had merely wanted to compliment Italian women.
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Other critics accused him of creating a " police state ". Two days after the L'Aquila earthquake , Berlusconi suggested that people left homeless should view their experience as a camping weekend. Subsequently, at a tent camp on the outskirts of L'Aquila housing some of the more than 30, people who lost their homes during the earthquake he said to an African priest: "you have a nice tan. In October , Berlusconi was chastised by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano after he was filmed telling "offensive and deplorable jokes", including one whose punchline was similar to one of the gravest blasphemies in the Italian language.
It was also revealed he had made another antisemitic joke a few days previously. Berlusconi responded to the allegations by saying the jokes were "neither an offence nor a sin, but merely a laugh". On 1 November , after once again being accused of involvement in juvenile prostitution, he suggested that an audience at the Milan trade fair should stop reading newspapers: "Don't read newspapers any more because they deceive you. On 13 July , according to a leaked telephone surveillance transcript, Berlusconi told his presumed blackmailer Valter Lavitola: "The only thing they can say about me is that I screw around [ I don't give a fuck.
In a few months [ On 27 January , on the occasion of the Holocaust Remembrance Day , Berlusconi said the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini , except for passing anti-Jewish laws in , only had done "good things" for Italy; and also said Mussolini from a strategic point of view did the right thing in siding with Adolf Hitler during World War II , because Hitler at the point of time when the alliance was made had appeared to be winning the war.
Berlusconi's career as an entrepreneur is also often questioned by his detractors. The allegations made against him generally include suspicions about the extremely rapid increase of his activity in the construction industry in the years —63, hinting at the possibility that in those years he received money from unknown and possibly illegal sources.
These accusations are regarded by Berlusconi and his supporters as empty slander , trying to undermine Berlusconi's reputation as a self-made man. Also frequently cited by opponents are events dating to the s, including supposed " exchanges of favours " between Berlusconi and Bettino Craxi , the former Socialist prime minister and leader of the Italian Socialist Party convicted in , for various corruption charges.
The Milan magistrates who indicted and successfully convicted Mr. Craxi in their " Clean Hands " investigation laid bare an entrenched system in which businessmen paid hundreds of millions of dollars to political parties or individual politicians in exchange for sweetheart deals with Italian state companies and the government itself. On 28 May , Berlusconi and his entourage launched an online initiative which consisted in the recruitment of volunteers, who are available to defend Berlusconi from the convictions of Milan 's prosecutors, who are dealing with his trials,  and who, Berlusconi often accused of being communists and anti-democratic.
Simone Furlan, the creator of the Freedom Army said in an interview: "There comes a time in life, when you realize that fighting for an ideal is no longer a choice but an obligation. We civil society we were helpless spectators of the "War of the Twenty Years" which saw Berlusconi fight and defend against slanderous accusations of all kinds, the result of a judicial persecution without precedent in history".
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The wiretap was part of an investigation by the Public Prosecutor Office of Naples , where Berlusconi was investigated for corruption. Berlusconi said, in his own defence: "In the entertainment world everybody knows that, in certain situations in RAI TV you work only if you prostitute yourself or if you are leftist.
I have intervened on behalf of some personalities who are not leftists and have been completely set apart by RAI TV. Berlusconi was explicitly named as a person involved in the "commercial sexual exploitation of a Moroccan child". At the end of April , Berlusconi's wife Veronica Lario , who would divorce him several years later, wrote an open letter expressing her anger at Berlusconi's choice of young, attractive female candidates—some with little or no political experience—to represent the party in the European Parliament elections.
Berlusconi demanded a public apology, claiming that for the third time his wife had "done this to me in the middle of an election campaign", and stated that there was little prospect of his marriage continuing. Noemi Letizia, the girl in question, gave interviews to the Italian press, revealing that she calls Berlusconi "papi" "daddy" , that they often spent time together in the past, and that Berlusconi would take care of her career as showgirl or politician, whichever she opted to pursue.
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On 14 May, la Repubblica published an article alleging many inconsistencies in Berlusconi's story and asked him to answer ten questions to clarify the situation. Ten days later, Letizia's ex-boyfriend, Luigi Flaminio, claimed that Berlusconi had contacted Letizia personally in October and said she had spent a week without her parents at Berlusconi's Sardinian villa around New Year's Eve ,  a fact confirmed later by her mother.
On 17 June , Patrizia D'Addario, a year-old escort and retired actress  from Bari , Italy, claimed that she had been recruited twice to spend the evening with Berlusconi. I have never understood what satisfaction there is if the pleasure of conquest is absent".
On 26 June , the "ten questions" to Berlusconi were reformulated by la Repubblica newspaper, and subsequently republished multiple times. Berlusconi's lifestyle has raised eyebrows in Catholic circles, with vigorous criticism being expressed in particular by the newspaper Avvenire , owned by the Conferenza Episcopale Italiana Conference of Italian Bishops. This was followed by the publication in the newspaper il Giornale owned by the Berlusconi family of details with regard to legal proceedings against the editor of Avvenire , Dino Boffo, which seemed to implicate him for a harassment case against the wife of his ex-partner.
After a period of tense exchanges and polemics, on 3 September , Boffo resigned from his editorial position   and the assistant editor Marco Tarquinio became editor ad interim. On 22 September , after a press conference, Berlusconi declared that he had asked his ministers not to respond anymore to questions regarding "gossip". He stated also that the Italian press should talk only about the "successes" of Italian Government in internal and foreign policies, adding also that the press now will be able only to ask questions relating to his administration and not to gossip.
The girl told prosecutors in Milan that these events were like orgies where Berlusconi and 20 young women performed an African-style ritual known as the " bunga bunga " in the nude. It was also found out that, on 27 May , El Mahroug had been arrested for theft by the Milan police but being still a minor she was directed to a shelter for juvenile offenders. After a couple of hours, while she was being questioned, Berlusconi, who was at the time in Paris, called the head of the police in Milan and pressured for her release, claiming the girl was related to Hosni Mubarak , then President of Egypt , and that in order to avoid a diplomatic crisis, she was to be brought to the custody of Nicole Minetti.
Following repeated telephone calls by Berlusconi to the police authorities, El Mahroug was eventually released and entrusted to Minetti's care. The investigation of Berlusconi for extortion concussione and child prostitution regarding Karima El Mahroug has been referred to as " Rubygate ". MP Gaetano Pecorella proposed to lower the age of majority in Italy to solve the case. In November she became a dental hygienist, and shortly afterward treated Berlusconi for two broken teeth and facial injuries after he was attacked with a marble statue at a political rally.
The Guardian reported that according to a series of media reports in October , Berlusconi had met El Mahroug, then 17, through Nicole Minetti. Mahroug insisted that she had not slept with the then year-old prime minister. She told Italian newspapers that she merely attended dinner at his mansion near Milan. She said he also gave her jewellery. The fact that this coincided with severe cuts being made to the country's arts budget provoked a strong reaction from the public. In January , Berlusconi was placed under criminal investigation relating to El Mahroug for allegedly having sex with an underage prostitute and for abuse of office relating to her release from detention.
On 15 February , a judge indicted Berlusconi to stand trial on charges carrying up to 15 years in prison. On 24 June , Berlusconi was found guilty of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and of abusing his office. Berlusconi appealed the sentence   and his conviction was quashed a year later, on 18 July On 1 March , the Moroccan model Imane Fadil, who was one of the main witnesses in the process, died in strange circumstances, allegedly killed by radioactive poisoning.
In April the Panama Papers scandal broke out; it was a leaked set of The documents show how wealthy individuals, including public officials, hid their assets from public scrutiny. Silvio Berlusconi was cited in the list, along with his long-time partner at A. Milan , Adriano Galliani.
Letta’s Government: Between the Italian Rock and the European Hard Place
On 13 December , Berlusconi was hit in the face with an alabaster  statuette of Milan Cathedral after a rally in Milan's Piazza del Duomo. As Berlusconi was shaking hands with the public, a man in the crowd stepped forward and launched the statuette at him. The assailant was subsequently detained and identified as Massimo Tartaglia, a year-old surveyor with a history of mental illness but no criminal record, living in the outskirts of Milan.
Berlusconi suffered facial injuries, a broken nose and two broken teeth; he was subsequently hospitalised. In the night of 15—16 December, a year-old man was stopped by police and Berlusconi's bodyguards while trying to gain access to Berlusconi's hospital room. A search revealed that he carried no weapons, although three hockey sticks and two knives were later found in his car.
The suspect was known to have a history of mental illness and mandatory treatment in mental institutions. Berlusconi was discharged from the hospital on 17 December On 7 June , after the campaign for the local elections , Berlusconi was hospitalized to the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan because of heart problems. He holds significant assets in television, newspaper, publishing, cinema, finance, banking, insurance, and sports.
Berlusconi's main company, Mediaset , operates three national television channels, which in total cover half of the national television sector; and Publitalia it , the leading Italian advertising and publicity agency. Berlusconi also owns a controlling stake in Arnoldo Mondadori Editore , the largest Italian publishing house, whose publications include Panorama , one of the country's most popular news magazines.
His brother, Paolo Berlusconi , owns and operates il Giornale , a centre-right newspaper which provides a pro-Berlusconi slant on Italian politics. Il Foglio , one of the most influential Italian right-wing newspapers, is partially owned by his former wife, Veronica Lario. After Lario sold some of her ownership in , Paolo Berlusconi acquired a majority interest in the newspaper.
He founded and is the major shareholder of Fininvest , which is among the largest private companies in Italy;  it operates in media and finance. With Ennio Doris he founded Mediolanum , one of the country's biggest banking and insurance groups. He has interests in cinema and home video distribution Medusa Film and Penta Film. He also owned the football club A. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Berlusconi disambiguation. Carla Dall'Oglio m. Veronica Lario m. This article is part of a series about. Main article: Milano Due. Main article: Fininvest.
Main article: Political career of Silvio Berlusconi. Main article: Italian general election, Main article: Policies of Silvio Berlusconi. This article needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. October Main article: Trials and allegations involving Silvio Berlusconi.
Main article: Silvio Berlusconi underage prostitution charges.
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