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The End of an Era: Italy’s Scandal-Hit Former PM Silvio Berlusconi Dies at 86



Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi, the charismatic and controversial former Prime Minister of Italy, passed away at the age of 86, marking the end of a political era.

Known for his flamboyant personality, media empire, and scandal-ridden tenure, Berlusconi was one of the most polarizing figures in modern Italian politics.

Despite his numerous legal troubles and divisive policies, he left an indelible mark on the country’s political landscape and shaped the dynamics of Italian governance for over two decades.

Silvio Berlusconi

Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi died on June 12, 2023 aged 86. PHOTO | AFP

Silvio Berlusconi’s Legacy Is Marred by Scandals

Berlusconi’s political career was characterized by a series of scandals that often overshadowed his policy initiatives. From tax fraud to bribery and sex scandals, the former prime minister was no stranger to controversy.

Despite multiple trials and legal battles, he managed to maintain a significant support base among the Italian electorate, often attributing the charges against him to political witch-hunts.

Media Empire and Populist Appeal

Berlusconi’s rise to power was fueled by his vast media empire, which included television channels, newspapers, and publishing houses.

Through his media outlets, he was able to shape public opinion and effectively control the narrative surrounding his political career.

Berlusconi’s populist appeal and ability to connect with the Italian public made him a formidable force in Italian politics.

His communication skills and promises of economic prosperity resonated with many voters, despite allegations of corruption and conflicts of interest.

Economic Reforms and Mixed Results

During his time in office, Berlusconi implemented several economic reforms aimed at boosting Italy’s stagnant economy. His policies focused on reducing taxes, cutting bureaucracy, and promoting business-friendly measures.

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While these initiatives initially garnered support and contributed to short-term economic growth, critics argued that they did not address deeper structural issues, such as unemployment and income inequality.

Moreover, his handling of the global financial crisis in 2008 drew criticism for being insufficient and reactive.

Political Instability and Coalition Governments

Berlusconi’s tenure was marked by political instability and frequent changes in government. His coalition governments often faced internal divisions and infighting, leading to a lack of policy coherence and hindered progress on critical issues.

Berlusconi’s personal dominance within his political party, Forza Italia, sometimes overshadowed collective decision-making, exacerbating tensions within the coalitions he led.

Berlusconi’s Impact on Italian Politics

Despite the controversies and shortcomings, Berlusconi’s impact on Italian politics cannot be underestimated. He transformed the political landscape by introducing a unique blend of populism, media manipulation, and entrepreneurial flair.

His enduring presence challenged traditional political parties and established a new era of personality-driven politics in Italy.

Berlusconi’s populist approach also laid the groundwork for the rise of other populist leaders in the country and contributed to the fragmentation of the Italian political spectrum.

His tenure left a lasting legacy on the dynamics of Italian governance, raising questions about the country’s political institutions and the relationship between media and politics.


The death of Silvio Berlusconi marks the end of a chapter in Italian politics that was as divisive as it was influential. While his scandals and legal battles tarnished his reputation, his populist appeal and media empire ensured his longevity in politics.

Berlusconi’s economic reforms and political style have left a lasting impact on the country, shaping the future of Italian governance.

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As Italy moves forward, it will be essential to reflect on the lessons learned from Berlusconi’s era and strive for a more transparent and accountable political system.

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