Madonna the new voice of opposition for Berlusconi
MADONNA has weighed into the Italian political fray by launching a stinging attack on prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, saying the scandal-bound premier is "unsuited to govern Italy".
The Italian-American singer and actor made her remark in an interview at the Venice Film Festival, where she presented 'W.E.', her much-panned biography of Wallis Simpson.
Her comments were labelled as "offensive" and "communist" by irate Berlusconi supporters following their publication yesterday in 'Oggi' magazine.
"What do I think about Berlusconi?" said the 53-year-old. "I wouldn't like to talk about it now. But 'The Economist' already said everything, didn't it?", referring to the publication's June 9 cover in which a picture of grinning Mr Berlusconi accompanied the headline, "The man who screwed an entire country"
But Madonna could not resist adding her two cents' worth, opining that Berlusconi was "unsuited to govern Italy". It was enough to enrage Berlusconi loyalists, including Carlo Giovanardi, an undersecretary in the prime minister's office. He said Madonna's opinion "counts for nothing, because Italians know that she's a multi-millionaire and that people are not going to be influenced by these rich and spoilt would-be lords".
Then realising, perhaps, that this might not be the best line of attack given the billionaire premier was one of Italy's richest men, Mr Giovanardi changed tack, attacking her support of homosexual causes.
The prime minister was not at hand to rebuff the remarks. He was in Brussels, trying to convince senior EU officials that his government's drawn-out and chaotic attempts to impose a €45bn austerity package were about to finally bear fruit.
Sceptics noted, however, that Mr Berlusconi's trip enabled him to avoid an embarrassing interrogation by magistrates, who suspected he was blackmailed by the shady businessman Gianpaolo Tarantini, charged with procuring prostitutes for the premier's notorious parties in Sardinia and Rome.
But the consensus among most Italians was best represented by blogger Guia Soncini, who said that Madonna had merely stated the obvious. (© Independent News Service)