Following in the centre-left’s recent move to launch a new political party, former premier and leader of the centre-right Forza Italia, Silvio Berlusconi, announced the creation of a new party to lead the left-wing coalition, the Casa della Liberta’.
In an effort to oust current Premier Romano Prodi, Forza Italia supporters were busy collecting signatures calling for early elections in a piazza in Milan on November 18, when Berlusconi made his dramatic and unexpected move. Berlusconi declared the birth of the Freedom People party, a party positioned in centre-right that would ensure democracy, development and freedom in Italy.
This political party would incorporate with the largest of the already existing parties, Forza Italia. ‘Now it’s important to give life to this new creature, which will be the protagonist of freedom and democracy for decades’, Berlusconi said to the crowd in the piazza.
After Prodi’s 2008 budget plan was narrowly passed by parliament last week, Berlusconi was enraged that his allies had failed to sink the measure, although he had initially predicted its failure. Gianfranco Fini of the National Alliance and Pier Ferdinando Casini of the Union of Christian Democrats then publicly criticized Berlusconi for offering showmanship instead of viable alternatives to Prodi’s fiscal policies. Thus Berlusconi’s relations with centre-left allies have deteriorated and created a rift in the coalition.
It is rumored that Berlusconi intends to be a contender in the next elections representing the new ‘anti-politics’ movement and that he has sent political apprentices out into the streets to engage young Italians who are disenchanted with the current state of politics. If so, old school politics and political ties to his current allies would make it very difficult to bring this scheme to fruition.