Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The usual solution

Last week, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was formally indicted on charges of paying an underage prostitute and abuse of power. After a couple of days of embarrassed silence, he has responded with the usual solution: "reform" Italy's justice system. The proposed "reforms"? Impunity for all politicians and outlawing the use of wiretaps as evidence. These would allow corrupt politicians to go unpunished and rob police of a key weapon against organised crime. But they'd get Berlusconi off the hook, and that is all that matters to him.

The question now is whether he can muster a majority to push these self-serving changes through. His coalition has been slowly falling to pieces, and the latest charges have increased the pressure. Last month, he barely survive a confidence vote. Hopefully, this time he'll lose.