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Berlusconi's impact and legacy: political parties and the party system

  • Mark Donovan (a1)

Abstract

Silvio Berlusconi impacted massively on Italy's party politics. He restructured the right via Forza Italia and the People of Freedom co-creating a bipolar party system whilst championing a radical personalisation of politics. The new party system appeared to rotate around him, creating an unusual version of ‘moderate pluralism’. Thus, whilst there was government alternation, there was also gladiatorial confrontation more typical of ‘polarised pluralism’. More effective as an electoral mobiliser than a government leader, Berlusconi's fourth government collapsed in the face of the 2011 economic crisis. His party, whose institutionalisation had been prevented by the extreme personalisation of his leadership, began to fall apart, whilst voter disillusion boosted support for a new party, the Five Star Movement. By 2014, it appeared that Berlusconi's major legacies were the rise of Matteo Renzi, the new Prime Minister and leader of the Democratic Party; his failure to construct an enduring, moderate conservative party; and the exceptional success of the Five Star Movement.

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References

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Berlusconi's impact and legacy: political parties and the party system

  • Mark Donovan (a1)

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