Silvio Berlusconi: /sil-vee-oh bur-loo-scoh-nee/ informal: Er Berlusca. Political and publishing phenom who has intentionally spattered the international press with his Speidi sense for cosmetic surgery, his untarnishable Charlie Sheen for public/private womanizing and his remarkably ineffable Biden-eque gaffes. Cruise ship crooner. Italian Prime Minister 1994-1996, 2001-2006, 2008- today.
Italian politics has been making the front page of newspapers outside of the peninsula, thanks to the uncanny savoir faire of Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s favorite love-to-hate prime minister whose political prowess and business acumen seem fueled by his penchant for inappropriate comments and more inappropriate “dating”. As Italy approaches political crisis, here is a brief glossary and reader listing of informative articles to help you understand the behind-the-scenes:
- Governo: an incomprehensible entity comprised of Prime Minister (aforementioned Berlusconi), President (Giorgio Napolitano), and Parliament (made up of camera and senate). Whereas the Prime Minister is elected by the majority, the President is elected by Parliament. In it’s 63 years as a Republic, Italy has had 38 prime ministers and 11 presidents.
- Crollo: collapse. Unlike the American system where Presidents reside for a full four-year duration, the Italian parliament (parties, coalitions, whatever) can opt for a vote of confidence and thus voluntarily collapse a government, removing the Prime Minister. Berlusconi has had three reigns as Prime Minister, two of which ended in crollo but the media mogul-teflon don has managed to bounce back after each collapse. Third time is a charm.
- Bunga Bunga: potentially a Libyan term meaning “wild crazy sex party” involving a lot of women. Presently a reference to Berlusconi’s style of governing. Literally, not figuratively.
- The Silvio Berlusconi Guide to Dating, Jezebel.com
- What the Heck is Bunga Bunga, Slate.com
- Italy Can’t Ditch Silvio Berlusconi Guardian.co.uk
- Silvio Gets Taken Down Newsweek.com