Opinion Analysis

Monday 20 November 2017

Powerful judges scent Teflon tycoon's blood

Michael Day

It is now well past the stage when anyone outside Italy regards attacks by Silvio Berlusconi on his "enemies" in the judiciary as anything other than the deluded rants of an old despot -- Europe's answer to Gaddafi.

And if the courts finally nail him -- he is soon to go on trial on a charge of having sex with an under-age prostitute -- it will, for most of the Teflon-tycoon's subjects, seem like the dream gift, as the country celebrates its 150th birthday next month.

But in an important sense Berlusconi is right. His most dedicated adversaries, in a country where the opposition is not fit for purpose are the judiciary, and they are scenting blood. If there is evidence that Berlusconi is guilty of a crime, then of course it is right to seek to convict him. But the impression that Italy's judges are acting out their part in a political grudge-match grows stronger all the time, and in a modern democracy, the judiciary should not be deciding who governs.

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