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date: 27 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Silvio Berlusconi and Romano Prodi were the two main leaders of left and right in Italy in the Italian Second Republic. Berlusconi reinvented the Italian right after the downfall of Christian Democracy and the Socialist Party in the corruption scandals known as tangentopoli. Romano Prodi achieved something similar on the center-left. Together, they helped consolidate the bipolar party system that defined that Republic. Their different backgrounds and histories epitomized the identity of these two new forces. Thus Prodi was a sober Catholic reformist and a technocrat; Berlusconi a controversial businessman and a marketing genius. As prime minister, each achieved solid government reforms, but neither jolted Italy out of the economic stagnation in which it was mired or proved to be the incisive reformist statesman that Italy needed.

Keywords: Silvio Berlusconi, Romani Prodi, bipolarity, Christian Democracy, Italian Socialist Party

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