Silvio Berlusconi dominated Italian politics from 1994 until 2011 when he was driven from office by scandal. Convicted of false accounting and tax fraud and under threat of expulsion from the Senate, the media mogul had appeared a relic of the past.
But on September 17 he sprang back from heart surgery to announce that he intended to lead the centre-right challenge at the next election, to be held in the first part of 2018. ‘This is like a frozen mammoth being brought back to life,’ commented an Italian political journalist.
Berlusconi is often blamed for pioneering the ‘politics as performance’ style of leadership now used by Donald Trump, but an Italian political commentator remarked: ‘Compared to Trump, Berlusconi is Winston Churchill.’