Berlusconi, “The Troublemaker”

Many in Germany consider Silvio Berlusconi to be playing with fire, after his announcement that he will be seeking re-election as Prime Minister of Italy in the coming general election. Photograph: Olivier Holmey

Many in Germany consider Silvio Berlusconi to be playing with fire, after his announcement that he will be seeking re-election as Prime Minister of Italy in the coming general election. Photograph: Olivier Holmey

Silvio Berlusconi, three-times former Prime Minister of Italy, has announced on Saturday his intention to seek office again in 2013. Mr Berlusconi, a media tycoon and the head of the largest party in both Italian chambers, is expected to use all of these platforms to launch an aggressive election campaign against his main opponent, Pier Luigi Bersani of the centre-left Democratic Party.

The immediate consequence of this statement was Mario Monti’s announcement that he will shortly be resigning as Prime Minister. The deeper effect is a renewed uncertainty over the fate of the Italian economy: Mr Monti is considered by most liberal papers here in Germany as having enacted difficult, but important, reforms following the resignation of Mr Berlusconi, who was forced out of office in 2011 over his handling of the sovereign debt crisis.

Observers will find comfort in Mr Monti’s promise that he will first pass a budget and financial stability law before standing down. Yet the instability this announcement is expected to cause in an already fragile euro zone is sparking many highly critical pieces in the German press: the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a centre-right daily, published an article on Saturday simply titled “Berlusconi: The Troublemaker”.

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