Italian elections

Bilingual blog on the vote

Berlusconi — Before and After

April 16, 2008

Berlusconi - Before and After

Looking younger all the time

After winning Italy’s election, 71-year-old Silvio Berlusconi has spoken a great deal about being older and wiser in the ways of politics, having already served twice as prime minister. But there is no doubt that the conservative billionaire — thanks to cosmetic surgery including a hair transplant — looks much younger in many ways than he did when he last won a parliamentary election in 2001. Compare the pictures above, the first from his 2008 campaign and the second from November seven years ago.

Berlusconi, a former cruise ship crooner who built a media empire from scratch, is proud of his appearance. He bragged on Tuesday that one foreign correspondent had even asked him if he was younger than his 52-year-old election rival — Walter Veltroni.

I remember at a press conference in 2004, Berlusconi was asked about his hair transplant and said that he believed his more youthful image made him a better ambassador for Italy.

“I have taken one of the choices of modern life,” he said at the time. “It is a way of showing respect to those who share your life, your family. It is a way of showing respect to those who expect you to represent them on an international and national stage.”


True, but not complete: “Berlusconi, a former cruise ship crooner who built a media empire from scratch”

He is a son of a bank worker; that gifted a lot of money with no one can’t explain!!!

Built his fortune over a lot of lies, and he put the italians under his interess!

Posted by Michele | Report as abusive

guys! what do u think about it? what were the options between two main political leaders? any solutions for Italy??

Posted by kasi | Report as abusive

Sorry to say, but I see nothing but a gloomy future for us Italians, with ‘the Godfather’ as PM.
As Financial Times columnist Philip Stephens recently pointed out, Mr Berlusconi is not the solution but rather the symptom of Italy’s ills, since he is the very embodiment of Italy’s worst plagues.
Mr Berlusconi built his shady financial empire upon political corruption, malversations and obscure ties with P2 lodge (a shadowy Masonic organisation) and Mafia. He even hosted for nearly two years in his villa the Mafia boss Vittorio Mangano, who – according to Prosecutors – had acted as a ‘bridge’ between Cosa Nostra in Sicily and Mafia activities in northern Italy (Berlusconi recently defined Mangano as a “hero”, for his refusal to cooperate with the Justice!). Not to speak about Mr Marcello Dell’Utri (close associate of Mr Berlusconi, senator and co-founder of Forza Italia), sentenced – among other things – to nine years for Mafia association. Not to speak about Mr Previti (another close associate of Mr Berlusconi)… but the list would be too long…

However, the real tragedy for Italy is its rotten and predatory gerontocracy (all the political ‘caste’, including the ‘Left’), that created the humus in which Mr Berlusconi prospered, and let him build up an illegal media empire and (again, illegally) enter politics – needless to say: to escape prosecution.

The ‘double tragedy’ for us Italians is that even public TV is not (really) public, because it is ‘militarily’ occupied by political parties (the main of which is Berlusconi’s!). The result of this intolerable situation is a giant disinformation system, and – therefore – a largely brainwashed public opinion, since for most Italians TV is the only, or the main (however the most authoritative), source of information. To cap it all, the main newspapers are all controlled by a small number of powerful interest groups (Berlusconi himself controls a large number of newspapers), all of them – more or less – uneasy towards a serious enforcement of the rule of law.

In these circumstances, no wonder we have Berlusconi as a prime minister…
We Italians are sliding on a very dangerous slope, and the chasm could be nearer than we think.

Posted by alberto | Report as abusive

Following from Alberto’s comment of 28th April, that Italian media is “a giant disinformation system”. Not many people know this, but last Friday the Italian comic Beppe Grillo organized a public protest against the manipulation of the media. The movement collected 1,400,000 (approx) signatures in several hundred locations in Italy. These signatures are a protest against the current political and media caste.
The strongest proof of media manipulation is that an event involving 1.4 million people in a country with 70 million inhabitants, has passed unreported in the media.

I am more shocked to find no reference to the event the Reuters, BBC and The Times websites.

Is the propaganda machine that international already?

Please rectify the situation and print some NEWS on what is really happening in Italy today. Tomorrow may be too late.

Posted by StarBlazer | Report as abusive

I’m completly agree with the others. May-be italian peole don’t remember what happenned during the second world war and so they elected a dictator as Mussolini. Now he can make all he wants because he has a large majority in the Parliament.
Moreover, for the first time in the world history a man succeded in buying another whole political party

Posted by lucetta gallina | Report as abusive

I agree partially with other comments . The picture of a great disinformation system is correct ,not last being our PM minister the owner of plenty of TV channels and newspaper media . Instead the biggest problem ,in my opinion,is the great ignorance of Italy as a country . The evidence is the percentage (around 10 %) of full analfabetism of our country ,not counting the “returning analfabets” …Moreover the rate of people with a degree is among the lowest in Europe. This is a very fertile ground for a perverse deal between citizens and politics (left and right are ,sorry to say,perfectly the same) . The end result is a blocked,hopeless country that is predated easier than perceived . We give credit to people like Grillo,just an opportunistic very ignorant person (formerly a comedian,nowadays just a person riding the italian autolesionism),this is a great evidence of an ill system.


I agree with all your comments. And I am so happy to read some intelligent comment, finally!!! I tell you even among educated people nobody seems to be conscious of what is happening in my country. When I spoke with my friends they only talk about the mistakes of the left party and they say that this is the reason of BerlusKa’s victory. For me the “real” reason is, as Philip Stephens says that Berluska ” built his shady financial empire upon political corruption, malversations and obscure ties with P2 lodge (a shadowy Masonic organization) and Mafia”. Veltroni in his campaign said “we don’t want Mafia’s vote” k
Do you think he had any chances after this sentence? In USA people like him get killed. In Italy there is not need because people here, after 20 years of Berlusconi’s TV, is so well brain washed that they didn’t even understood the importance of Veltroni’s statement. Every body sleeps here….and after this last Berluska’s governament, his “job” will be completed….
I am so depressed!

Posted by roberta | Report as abusive

I’m desperate because italian people is so well brain washed and it don’t understand what means to have the TV and media empire for the political campaign.
This is the main problem.


Hi, I’m Italian and I am very sad because of your think about us. Berusconi won, in Italy because italians know what beautiful person he is. You said that the TV and media empire works for him, but this is not true, infact, the president of Mediaset isn’t Silvio Berlusconi: he only founded it. If you follow some programs on this television you can se that they are the first people that joke him. Moreover in italy because of the presence of the Mafious clans, the Magistrates se everywhere mafious. This is a understandable reaction. But berlusconi has been judged innocent.

Posted by An Italian | Report as abusive

It’s me again.
If you observe the italian televisions you can se that the Rai “Pubblic Italian Television” is used for politics not the mediaset.

Posted by An Italian | Report as abusive

Right. Read the previous comment. That kind of TV works (teleP2).

Posted by Totò | Report as abusive

He can change his looks but not his nature.

He is a self-serving plutocrat who seeks to abuse his power to further his own tawdry designs and even subvert the justice system in order to overt legal punishment.

Italians should be very concerned indeed: they have a wolf in sheeps clothing in their midst!

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

He didn’t build an empire from scratch. He built it on lobbying!!!!!!!!!!! much much lobbying!!!!!!

Posted by federico | Report as abusive

he IS the conflict of interest: TV, nespaper, banking, fund raising, insurance, media, editorial, real estates. IS the CHAMPION in antitrust infringement!!!

Posted by federico | Report as abusive

The problem is not how and how much Berlusconi remake his face or body but that his only target is avoid to clarify to the judges his responsability in corruption of othe judges, corruption of custom officiers, autofinancing with more than 64 billions lira cash, etc.


The problem in Italy is that the people has no hope. They are like an old man left alone on the street in a mega-city.
The world is running fast while we are steady in our own way. We have lost the train and the other nations in Europe are going faster than us. Berlusconi is just a clown, clever and maybe funny, but he’s a sad clown for a sad country.
We have to start to find some new rules and make sure all people start to respect rules and each other. No more shortcuts or lies, but respect. Then we have to make a new economy starting from zero, from the education system. We need to give a chance to the new generations, crating workers and not just titles. The people now have many titles (i.e. Dott. Ing. Cav. Paolo Rossi) but they are not able to work well.We have to forget the use of fake contracts that reduce the salary of all workers. We ask for change the rules of the employment. We have lost something in the last 15 years. It’s time to change. Maybe the things will change when Mr. Berluska will die.
Sincerely is not only Berluscony but all the last politicians we had recently. I saw a new deal with Veltroni yes, unfortunately he is alone.
Weak up Italy.

Posted by Giovanni | Report as abusive

He is much better looking without hair !

Posted by George Brown | Report as abusive

Be very careful what you vote for.

The idiots of Italy voted Burlusconi in and put up with appaling saituations like the mafia invested Naples debacle.

The world looks on and sees Italy as a corrupt and mafia infiltrated confusion of bent interests – where bribes and dirty tricks are the staff of life itself.

That’s not surprising when mafia organisations like the Catholic church have so much wealth, power and influence.

Italy needs to be careful, or the EU may one day start proceedings to eject it from the community, due to the corruption that is so endemic within Italy’s political and social infrastructure.

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

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