News24

Berlusconi compares self to Mussolini

2011-11-09 20:07

Rome - Outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Wednesday he lacked power and compared himself to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, who was reduced to making "suggestions" rather than ruling.

"I am tired of not being able to dictate the line or be able to do the politics I want to do. I feel more powerful as a free citizen than as prime minister," Berlusconi said in an interview with La Stampa newspaper.

The 75-year-old premier, who has announced he will resign by the end of the month under intense pressure from the markets, said he was reading a book of letters written by Fascist dictator Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci.

"At a certain point he says: 'But don't you understand that I don't count for anything any more, I can only make suggestions'," Berlusconi said, adding: "I have felt in the same situation".

When pushed by La Stampa on the similarities between his rule and the Fascist dictatorship, Berlusconi said: "Of course, I'm not a dictator, even if you have written as much over the years."

"But the fathers of our constitution, for fear of history repeating itself, have excessively weakened the executive."

Berlusconi announced his intention to resign following a shock parliamentary revolt on Tuesday and fears in the eurozone that Italy could be the next victim of the debt crisis.

The colourful tycoon said he will not run for office in the next election and said he felt "liberated" by the decision.