Silvio Berlusconi Sentenced to One Year in Jail / Italians Aren’t Great at Choosing Leaders


Italy’s former Prime Minister and resident sleazebag Silvio Berlusconi has been convicted and sentenced to a year in jail for publicizing a recording of a confidential phone call related to a 2005 banking scandal.

Berlusconi is accused of arranging for a police wiretap concerning a political rival to be leaked and published in a newspaper run by his brother. However, the 76-year-old media billionaire is likely to appeal and under Italian law, he won’t have to serve any time until all appeal trials are completed. It’s pretty unlikely that Berlusconi will actually serve jail time over the wiretap case, but the conviction will damage his already less-than-stellar reputation.

Speaking of his not-so-great reputation, Berlusconi is also facing two other trials for accusations of alleged tax fraud and sex with an underage prostitute. Over the years Berlusconi has also been accused of charges including accounting fraud, perjury, bribery, corruption, having unlawful sex with a minor, and fraud over the sale of film rights.

Which brings us to the question: how the hell does this guy keep getting votes?

After resigning in November 2011 amid allegations of criminal activity (see above…), Berlusconi decided to run for prime minister for a fourth (and final?) time. During the elections last week, Italian voters somehow managed to their notoriously corrupt former primer minister another shot. The results turned out better than expected for Berlusconi, leader of the center-right People of Freedom (thanks to his usual round-the-clock media coverage and promises of tax refunds).

Berlusconi won 125 seats out of 630 in the lower house of Parliament and 30 percent of the seats in the Senate. Although his centre-right coalition only finished third in the parliamentary elections, it was a tight race that saw no clear winner.

But if you compare this with his 2008 results, he lost more than 6 million votes or about 50 percent. Is Berlusconi’s political persona slowly fading after years of scandals? Maybe this will be the last run for the 76-year-old. He has to get back to his bunga bunga parties anyway…

Via: Reuters 

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