<p>Could Berlusconi be prime minister once again?</p>

Italian politicians, economists and financial observers are quietly asking themselves this question as the troubled southern European nation gears up for a highly volatile election season. Former premier Silvio Berlusconi, who resigned in 2010 amid market turmoil and extremely high interest rates on government debt, is making a serious push to return to the prime minister position. According to various news sources such as Bloomberg, the controversial media mogul is climbing in voter polls but ultimately may be held back by multiple criminal cases.

The developments could pose problems for the Italian government, regardless of the party in power, due to campaign promises that may imperil the nation’s financial position. Berlusconi offered voters a one-time tax rebate if he wins reelection, and although details have yet to be hammered out it could be as high as $4 billion. Opponents of the center-right politician immediately pounced on the proposal, including current Prime Minister Mario Monti who deemed it a “friendly attempt at corruption.” 

“We can call it a quid pro quo or even a friendly attempt at corruption,” Monti said on February 4 interview with Italian radio station. RTL 102.5. “Berlusconi wants to buy the votes of Italians with the money that Italians had to turn over to cover up the shortfall left in the public accounts by Berlusconi, who governed for eight of the past 10 years.”

Italy’s economy is one of the largest in the European Union (EU), and any financial instability could disrupt plans made by the European Central Bank and the European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, to bring calm to the region’s stock and equity markets. Berlusconi, who infamously left office following a failed budget vote, risks complicating these efforts.

Investors with portfolios that are exposed to Italian debt may want to keep the country’s elections in mind over the next few months. For more information on this and other topics, including quality methods for wealth preservation, visit GreatWealthStrategies.com today.