Silvio Berlusconi, social worker
Embarrassments pile up but the former prime minister still has political clout
NOT good: but far from the worst outcome. On April 15th a Milan court ruled that Silvio Berlusconi should serve his sentence for tax fraud by helping in an old people's home in Milan. But the former prime minister will be free to go to Rome from Tuesday to Thursday. In practice, the 77-year-old is unlikely to spend more than half a day a week pretending to help grannies, and then only for nine months.
As often happens in Italy, a daunting punishment has been whittled down to a mild reproof. Mr Berlusconi's four-year sentence was cut to one year because of an amnesty law from a centre-left government in 2006. He could not be jailed thanks to another law passed by one of his governments that bans the imprisonment of most over-70s. Since the court had ruled out house arrest, there is nothing to stop him leading his Forza Italia! party into next month's European elections. The message that Mr Berlusconi was not just any criminal, but the leader of Italy's main conservative party, was neatly conveyed to the judges when he spent some hours with the prime minister, Matteo Renzi, discussing a constitutional reform that requires his party's parliamentary support.
Despite this clout, three recent events have left the media tycoon and his party beleaguered. On April 10th a judge sequestered 49m ($68m) of assets said to belong to Roberto Formigoni, who was for 18 years governor of Lombardy and for all but three a leading member of Mr Berlusconi's party. Mr Formigoni, who has joined Angelino Alfano's breakaway New Centre Right (NCD) party, is to go on trial next month charged with corruption and conspiracy. He denies wrongdoing.
尽管有如此影响力，最近发生的三件事让这位媒体大亨和他的政党都陷入了困境。4月10日一位法官没收了据说属于在任18年的伦巴第（Lombardy）大区主席——罗伯托·福尔米戈尼（Roberto Formigoni）价值四千九百万欧元（合六千八百万美金）的财产。 而福尔米戈尼已经加入了由安杰利诺·阿尔法诺（joined Angelino）带领的、从力量党脱离出的新中右翼党（NCD）。他将在下个月因贪污罪和密谋罪的指控接受审判。他否认一切罪行。
Then on April 12th police in Lebanon arrested Marcello Dell'Utri, the man who created Forza Italia! from nothing in the early 1990s, giving Mr Berlusconi the vehicle he needed for his political career. Mr Dell'Utri, a Sicilian, remained close, despite controversy over his alleged links to Cosa Nostra. He disappeared shortly before the supreme court could rule on his seven-year jail sentence for aiding and abetting mobsters. Lower-court judges ruled that his collaboration with the Mafia ceased before he founded Forza Italia! But his legal problems and fugitive status are embarrassing for the party and its leader.
此外，4月12日黎巴嫩警方逮捕了二十世纪九十年代意大利力量党的最初的创始人马塞洛·德尔乌特里（Marcello Dell'Utri），他为贝卢斯科尼提供了其开创政治事业所需的工具。尽管对于他所声称的与黑手党的关系存在着争议，但西西里人德尔乌特里一直保持着与科萨·诺斯特拉（Cosa Nostra）密切的联系。在最高法院判决他帮助和教唆黑手党之罪入狱七年之前，他失踪了一小段时间。低级法院则判定他早在建立力量党之前就已经断绝了与黑手党的合作往来。但是他的法律问题和逃犯的身份让意大利力量党和党领袖贝卢斯科尼都非常尴尬。
Lastly, on April 13th, Mr Berlusconi's long-standing spokesman, Paolo Bonaiuti, confirmed he was leaving Forza Italia!, but not the centre-right—a hint that he will join the NCD. His decision to quit was evidence of tensions that have multiplied within Forza Italia! as the party has drifted without a clear direction in recent months.
The possibility that Mr Berlusconi might have been under house arrest drew renewed attention to his lack of a successor. Mr Alfano founded the NCD after Mr Berlusconi had handed him the leadership, only to snatch it back again. But whether Mr Alfano can build a credible alternative to Forza Italia! remains to be seen; five months after its foundation, the NCD averages less than 5% in the polls.
Forza Italia!'s share has slumped from 29% at last year's election to 21%, below Beppe Grillo's maverick Five Star Movement (M5S). Unless Mr Berlusconi can find a way to revive his party's fortunes, it is possible that the next confrontation in Italian politics will not be between right and left, but between Mr Renzi's Democratic Party and an M5S that aspires to replace not just all the mainstream parties but parliamentary democracy itself.
力量党的支持率也由29%骤降至21%，低于由贝佩·格里洛（Beppe Grillo）领导的特立独行的五星运动党（M5S）。除非贝卢斯科尼能找到合适的方法来拯救他领导的力量党的命运，否则意大利政坛的下一次交锋将不会是在左与右之间，而会成为伦齐领导的意大利民主党与不仅想要取代所有意大利主流政党更企图代替民主党掌权议会的五星运动党之间的一次角逐。译者：邵灵玲 校对：徐珍