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Berlusconi Takes A Back Seat, Maybe

Yesterday, Italy’s oft controversial ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi announced that the time had come for him to take a back seat.

The news hit Italy’s headlines, propelling the outgoing Berlusconi right back into the limelight – which is exactly where he loves to be.  Announcing his retirement did no harm for his visibility at all.

However, this time round, after a good many false retirements, it looks as if Berlusconi has decided to give up on the idea of seeking re-election as prime minister of Italy.  Some Italians will be breathing a sigh of relief.

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Others, including this Italy watcher and another former Italian prime minister, Romano Prodi, are giving the news a cautious welcome.   Silvio Berlusconi has something of a reputation for saying one thing and then denying it the next.

Still, more than day has now passed and Berlusconi has not yet changed his mind.  There is still time though.  And Berlusconi is almost as unpredictable as an Abruzzo earthquake.

Meanwhile, simmering away in the background is the Finmeccanica corruption case with tales of half billion Euro kickbacks and it is looking as if crooked roads may lead towards Italy’s ex-prime minister.

Maybe this is why he has decided to exit stage left for now.

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