“Silvio Berlusconi: A Controversial Protagonist of Italian Politics”, Ferdinando Nelli Feroci (IAI, Italy)

With the death of Silvio Berlusconi, a phase in the history of the Italian Republic ends. This phase drew the so-called First Republic to a close, brought to an end traditional parties, gave way to the spectacularisation of politics and the success of personal parties, and reinforced a direct relationship between leaders and citizens. Without any doubt, Berlusconi was – for better or worse – the personality who left the most apparent mark on the last twenty-five to thirty years of Italy’s history. He founded a new and unprecedented centre-right coalition and embodied and inspired a new way of doing politics, halfway between the aspiration to affirm a model of authentic liberalism in Italy and the temptation to embrace the methods and practices of a nascent populism. Berlusconi was also the most divisive and contested personality of these thirty years of Italian political life. 

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