A number of comments made by Silvio Berlusconi in the past few days have led to a worrying conclusion — a Berlusconi comeback in could be on the cards for 2012.
John Hooper of the Guardian reports that speculation reached fever point last week when told a young audience: “I’m working on solutions. I’m still here,” before adding, “Give me 51% [of the votes].”
The crowd reportedly burst into applause and began chanting “Silvio, Silvio!”
Nick Pisa of the Telegraph has even more worrying quotes from the rally — “This is no longer a situation of liberty. We are being governed by people who were not elected,” he said, referring to the technocrat government ran by Mario Monti.
That’s electioneering talk — and observers are beginning to wonder if Berlusconi’s PDL party is eying an election before the next scheduled one in May 2013.
“The risk of elections in October is very real. All the actions and declarations of the People of Freedom in the last few weeks would seem to suggest so,” Pierluigi Bersani of the Democratic Left told the Telegraph.
Of course, this is all kind of crazy. Just last November people were out on the streets of Rome cheering over Berlusconi’s ousting. He’s openly said he would be “stepping aside” from front line politics, and the reports from his trial for using an underage prostitute have been damning.
But maybe its part of a wider plan. Back in December observers were noting that Berlusconi’s resignation may have been timed so that he would avoid having to make unpopular budget decisions. Now Mario Monti has had to make those decisions — and his approval ratings are down to an all-time low 33%.
Returning to office would also help him escape his numerous legal problems, of course.
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