Thursday, October 08, 2009

My bad, I thought Italy was a Republic

The high ruled that the Alfano law which gave Berlusconi immunity from prosecution was unconstitutional. The law was passed last year right before he took office again.

As in the States, there are laws to protected the President/Prime Minister, however, it clearly states in the Italian constitution that no one is above the law.

Berlusconi's lawyers did not agree with the constitution. As expected, Berlusconi and his party has said this is the work of the left. The judges are in the left's pocket. They have governed before without laws and will do so again.

Someone needs to school our Prime Minister. You cannot govern without laws. That's a dictatorship. If one has a problem with the constitution you can try to change. It's difficult. It should be. That piece of paper is the bedrock of a Republic.

That this man controls so much of the media, is cause for alarm. That he thinks it's okay to sue a newspaper for asking questions that any journalist would ask of an ELECTED leader, is outrageous.

To blame this on the Communists (yes they went there) is laughable. The Communist party in Italy used to be the strongest outside of Russia which is why the CIA was all up in Italy's business back in the day, but now? Are you kidding me? Try harder PDL.

I'm hoping with the Internet, that he will not get away with dismissing the laws that you and I have to follow just because he doesn't feel like it.

His lawyers defense that Berlusconi is "first above equals"? I have no words.

Anyway, between the economy, his sex scandals, the divorce, gaffes, etc. his approval rating is slipping fast, especially among practicing Catholics.

From the Globe and Mail:

The 15 judges of Italy's constitutional court ruled 9 to 6 that the immunity law, which shields the Prime Minister and the three other top state officials from prosecution, while they are in office, breaches constitution articles making all citizens equal before the law.

Mr. Berlusconi's small army of lawyers used extraordinary arguments to try to keep the immunity law intact. One of them told the court that "He is no longer 'First among equals,' but ought to be considered 'First above equals.' "

While some political analysts thought that the ruling will, at best, turn the billionaire media and sports mogul in to a lame-duck leader and, at worst, end his career, others thought his amazing survival instincts, strangely enduring popularity and Italy's deeply flawed legal system will allow him to escape once again.

"If one thing is true of the last 15 years, it's that the justice system has never derailed Berlusconi," said Alexander Stille, the Columbia University professor who wrote The Sack of Rome, a book about Mr. Berlusconi's power grab.

"There is always a face-saving compromise or way out, like the statutes of limitations. The idea that Berlusconi will be convicted in one of these cases, and issued a serious sentence, I find hard to believe."

Mr. Stille has said Mr. Berlusconi, who controls Italy's top three commercial TV channels and, through his role as Prime Minister, the Italian state broadcaster RAI, has more power than any leader in Western Europe. He considers Mr. Berlusconi's power on par with that of Russia's Vladimir Putin or Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

In this BBC clip Berlusconi's referred to himself in the third person. I find it humorous when athletes, entertainers or friends do it. In this case, not so much.



Irene of American in Padua said...

He really thinks he is immune to everything with his charismatic smile and media power. We're bordering on a tactic fascist regime these days in Italy with everything remoting against Berlu being "obviously" promoted by a Communist, according to his politics. It's a shame that so many Italians support him.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Irene - I couldn't believe how indignant he was. He really thinks he did nothing illegal and is above the law. If he didn't control so much of the press (and the opposition stopped fighting among themselves) the public would have turned against him much earlier.

Monie said...

@nyc/caribbean ragazza

I saw a piece, ABC I believe, on all of this. So it's getting some attention here.

The amazing thing, according to the piece, is that Berlusconi remains very popular. What's that about?

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

monie - He's finally slipping in the approval ratings but given everything that's going on, in another Western country, he'd be finished.

Controlling 95% of the broadcast media has a LOT to do with his popularity. We cannot underestimate the power of the media especially when most people here (and in the States) get their news from TV and not from newspapers (which have more time/space to get into the issues). Sound bite democracy is not good.

Tracie B. said...

i think a more accurate word for berlusconi's rule would be 'dick-tatorship.'

ieishah said...

i remember reading earlier this year (and cannot for the life of me find the link) that berlusconi actually had some aides call the new york times to ask why journalists were asking questions about him (you know, doing what journalists do, INVESTIGATING) and why negative things were being written about him. the man even thinks he can control foreign press.

not to mention everything i've been reading about the anti-immigration laws he's managed to get passed wherein folks can be citizen-arrested on suspicion of being an undocumented immigrant... really? one can only hope that the 'right-ing' of europe signaled by his (and other conservative parties') success in the last EU elections is media generated as well and has little basis in reality.

the man scares me.

Monie said...

@nyc/caribbean ragazza

"Controlling 95% of the broadcast media has a LOT to do with his popularity."

It's pretty bad here, as I'm sure you know, with 5 or 6 huge media companies controlling most of the media but that is scary.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

tracie b. - ha. have you heard the latest? he insulted a females guest on a news show over the weekend. sigh.

ieishah - I do remember that! Incredible. He's also upset with Rupert Murdoch. Rupert told him he has no control over what his British papers report. He and his friends, Lega Nord, scare me too. I've noticed they've tone down some of their more racist rhetoric but they're not fooling one. Fascinating that the first black woman elected to the office of mayor in Italy, is a member of that party.

monie - I know. Instead of 1 man controlling everything, it's five. Just as frightening. I don't think all this consolidation helped anyone except the banks/lawyers who collected big fees and the few executives who received golden parachutes.

Valerie said...

He is a one-man freak show. I have never understood his so-called charisma and appeal, and find him as sleazy - and scary. The anti-immigration and fascist-leaning trends are very disturbing.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

valerie - I agree. I don't understand it either.