Faithful readers will know that I am no supporter of italian PM Silvio Berlusconi. I have always thought however that the genuine belief to be loved by the majority of italians was a powerful reason for him to be in politics: the man truly believes(ed?) to be “the best Prime Minister Italy ever had” as he famously stated once.
So much surprising is therefore to me his current stubborness to stay in place despite calls for a stepdown now widespread and shared by some of his staunchiest supporters, not to mention the markets. Two quantitatively interesting bits:
1. markets were abuzz in the last hour or so about the fact that the BTP / Bund spreadhad surpassed 500 basis points; not that it really matters if it does, but to put things in perspective, given the size of Italy’s debt, every 100 basis points of additional interest cost this country about EUR16bn in additional interest expense, and this is what happened in the last 30 days.
2. The malady isn’t stopping at home, either; chances are mr. B’s stubborness is costing others as well, at least according to this headline.
I do wonder therefore WHY?
If vanity was and still is indeed a powerful factor (I believe it is for every politician), why not retire gracefully before falling out with the millions of people who supported and adored him? Why risk alienating their sympathy and go down as this country’s greatest villain after Benito Mussolini?