c994d02922b4f232d0dcff70499775a7084fa52a Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's death leaves a huge void.
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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's death leaves a huge void.

former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi 
(Getty images)

The passing of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has left a void in Italian politics and society, according to his allies and supporters. Berlusconi, who served as Italy's Prime Minister for a total of nine years, was a controversial figure known for his flamboyant personality, business acumen, and political influence. His death has sparked an outpouring of tributes from political allies who credit him with shaping modern Italian politics.

A Political Titan

Silvio Berlusconi was born on September 29, 1936, in Milan, Italy. He rose to prominence as a media tycoon, building a vast empire that included television networks, publishing houses, and football clubs. His media ownership granted him substantial influence, which he later translated into a successful political career.

Berlusconi entered politics in the early 1990s, founding the center-right Forza Italia party. In 1994, he became Italy's Prime Minister for the first time, leading a coalition government. Berlusconi's tenure was marked by his bold, often controversial leadership style, which drew both adulation and criticism from the public and the media.

A 'Huge Void' Left Behind

Berlusconi's death on June 12, 2023, at the age of 86, has left a significant void in Italian politics. His political allies, many of whom had been with him since the inception of Forza Italia, express their deep sorrow and acknowledge the influential role he played in shaping the country. Prominent politicians within the center-right coalition have spoken out about the loss. Other allies from Forza Italia and beyond echoed similar sentiments. 

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni: 

"Silvio Berlusconi was above all a fighter; he was a man who never shied away from standing up for what he believed in, and it was precisely that courage and tenacity that made him one of the most significant figures in Italian history.

We have fought, won, and lost many wars with him, and we will accomplish the objectives we set for him as well. Goodbye, Silvio.

Mario Draghi, a former prime minister of Italy

"I would like to express my sincere condolences on the passing of Silvio Berlusconi, a true leader in Italian public life for the past fifty years. With exceptional energy and creativity, he transformed the worlds of sports and communications as an entrepreneur. Millions of Italians adored him for his humanity and charisma as a leader who altered politics. We extend our sincere condolences to his family, his company's staff, and the Forza Italia community.

Antonio Tajani, the longtime Berlusconi loyalist and deputy prime minister of Italy, said, "An immense grief. Just say "thank you, President, and Silvio."

Forza Italia Party 

We wish that we could keep you forever. President, good bye. Your political milieu."

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

"He oversaw Italy through a period of political change and has since continued to mould his beloved nation. I offer my sympathies to the Italian people as well as his family.

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia

"Silvio was a dear guy to me and a good friend. I have always genuinely appreciated his intelligence and his capacity to make fair judgements with a long view, even in the most trying circumstances.

Pope Francis 

The pope expressed his "heartfelt participation in the mourning for the loss of a protagonist of Italian political life, who held public responsibilities with energetic temperament" in a letter to Marina Berlusconi, the former prime minister's eldest daughter.

Impact on Italian Politics and Society

Berlusconi's impact on Italian politics cannot be overstated. His tenure as Prime Minister saw him implement significant economic reforms, such as tax cuts and labor market reforms, aimed at boosting Italy's economy. However, his leadership was also marred by corruption scandals and legal troubles.

Despite the controversies, Berlusconi maintained a considerable following throughout his political career. His ability to connect with the Italian electorate through his media presence and charismatic persona allowed him to remain a formidable force in politics for decades.

Beyond politics, Berlusconi was a cultural icon in Italy. He owned the famous AC Milan football club and used his influence to build bridges between sports and politics. His charisma and larger-than-life personality made him a popular figure among the public, and his media empire played a significant role in shaping Italian culture and entertainment.

Looking Ahead

As Italy mourns the loss of Silvio Berlusconi, the country will undoubtedly feel the absence of one of its most influential political figures. His legacy, for better or worse, will continue to shape Italian politics and society for years to come. Berlusconi's allies, while grieving their leader's passing, will face the challenge of carrying his vision forward while navigating an ever-changing political landscape.

Whether Berlusconi's legacy is remembered as one of political innovation or controversy will be subject to interpretation. However, there is no denying the impact he had on Italian politics, leaving behind a void that will not easily be filled.

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