ePerhaps this was Silvio Berlusconi’s last invitation to the Italian people to take a political coffee trip. At the age of eighty-five, he once again dreamed of being a leader on this journey. Like when he was prime minister. For a total of nine years, first from 1994 to 1995 and then, with a two-year break, again from 2001 to 2011. No one has been since ‘ventennio’, the twenty-year reign Benedict Mussolini, in power in Italy as long as Berlusconi.
Topographically and politically speaking, the Quirinale’s climb, the highest of Rome’s seven hills and home to the presidential palace, should have crowned his unprecedented career. But nothing will come of it. On Saturday, two days before the start of the election of a new president by both houses of parliament, Berlusconi withdrew his candidacy for the highest office in the state. “I have decided to take a different path towards national responsibility and ask you not to propose my name as President of the Republic,” he said. Moreover: “Italy needs unity today. I will serve my country in a different way.”