Home » World » Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Dies at 86

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Dies at 86

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Di

Silvio Berlusconi, the flamboyant media mogul and former Italian prime minister who dominated the country’s politics for two decades, has died at the age of 86.

Berlusconi passed away on Wednesday at his villa in Arcore, near Milan, after a long illness. He had been hospitalized several times in recent years for heart problems and Covid-19.

Berlusconi was one of Italy’s richest men and a master of political survival. He rose to power in 1994 with his Forza Italia party and served as prime minister four times between 1994 and 2011. He was known for his populist rhetoric, his lavish lifestyle and his frequent scandals involving sex parties and corruption.

Berlusconi also wielded enormous influence over Italian media through his ownership of three national TV channels and several newspapers and magazines. He was often accused of using his media empire to advance his political agenda and to evade justice.

Berlusconi faced dozens of trials and investigations during his career, but he managed to avoid any definitive convictions until 2013, when he was found guilty of tax fraud and banned from holding public office for two years. He later regained his political rights and remained a key player in Italian politics until his death.

Berlusconi’s supporters praised him as a charismatic leader who boosted Italy’s economy and international prestige. His critics denounced him as a demagogue who eroded Italy’s democratic institutions and tarnished its reputation abroad.

Berlusconi’s death triggered an outpouring of tributes and condolences from across the political spectrum in Italy and beyond. Italian President Sergio Mattarella said Berlusconi was “a protagonist of Italian political life for a long time” who “left a deep mark on our country’s history”.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he was “deeply saddened” by Berlusconi’s death and called him “a great friend of France”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had “a respectful and trusting relationship” with Berlusconi despite their differences.

However, some of Berlusconi’s opponents expressed relief that he was gone. Beppe Grillo, the founder of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement that rose to prominence as a reaction to Berlusconi’s rule, said “the nightmare is over”.

Berlusconi is survived by his five children and his partner Marta Fascina. His funeral will be held on Friday in Milan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *