Berlusconi is back

Photo: Alessandra Benedetti, Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images

When Italians go to the polls three weeks from today, they will likely give the largest share of the vote to a center-right coalition headed by a familiar face: former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Why it matters: After being forced out of office in 2011 and convicted of money laundering two years later, the 81-year-old Berlusconi is back at the center of Italian politics. His conviction bars him from holding office, but he could play kingmaker in contentious coalition negotiations. And in a surprising turn of events, with the ruling Democratic Party slumping and the populist Five Star movement leading the way, Berlusconi could actually be the man to save Italy from political chaos.