'Il Cavaliere' determined to fight back

November 28, 2013 7:43 AM

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'Il Cavaliere' determined to fight back

His expulsion from the upper house would signal the end of his career in parliament, but he will still be able to wield immense political influence, relying on his wealth, his sway over the Italian media and the loyalty of millions of diehard supporters.

The man known to Italians as Il Cavaliere (The Knight) is determined to remain a player in Italian politics, reportedly telling allies that he still harbours ambitions to become prime minister again.

For any other leader in any other country, being ignominiously booted out of parliament as a result of a conviction for tax fraud would surely signal the end of their career.

But the 77-year-old billionaire has shown time and time again that he is able to overcome such obstacles and sustain the support of millions of Italians who admire his chutzpah, personal fortune and populist appeal.

"After the vote, he will be out of parliament, but he won't be out of politics," Roberto D'Alimonte, a politics professor at Rome's LUISS university, told reporters.

"He still controls six or seven million votes -- he has a hardcore constituency and they have not left him yet.

"As long as he holds on to those votes, you can't say it's the end for him politically, although it may be another step into the twilight zone. But this is a man who has resources -- money, control over the media."

Dr Geoff Andrews, author of 'Not a Normal Country: Italy After Berlusconi', said: "After all that has happened -- the fraud trials, the bunga bunga parties, and the mounting economic crisis -- the centre-Right still leads in the polls and has no capable alternative leader." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Source: independent.ie

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