Media Mogul Silvio Berlusconi Eyeing European Parliament Bid Despite Ban on Politics
ROME -- Undaunted by an array of personal and legal problems -- including a ban from politics -- Italian media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi appears to be gearing up to run for European parliament.
The logos released Wednesday from the various political parties show the Berlusconi name under the banner for Forza Italia, the political party the billionaire tycoon created two decades ago along with the slogan "More Italy in Europe. Less Europe in Italy."
Three times Italy's prime minister, Berlusconi, speaking Wednesday about the possibility he might sell part of his family's stake in the soccer team AC Milan, was evasive about how he might run for parliament despite the ban on politics. Legal scholars said his name could appear on the ballot but certified election results could not include his name among the victors, and he could not serve.
Speculation always swirled that Berlusconi could be setting the stage for one of his daughters to run.
Marina Berlusconi, the 47-year-old chairwoman of the family's holding company Fininvest, and named in October to The Hollywood Reporter's list of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Global TV, was tapped as her father's political heir last year, though she has repeatedly said she has no interest in politics.
Barbara Berlusconi, 29, is in the spotlight much less than her older half-sister. But she is also a possibility.
But the most bizarre possibility is that the elder Berlusconi himself will run even though he cannot win or serve in the parliament. The vote will be held May 25.
"One thing that is clear is that [Silvio] Berlusconi does not want to go away quietly," Gian Franco Gallo, a political affairs analyst with investment bankers Hildebrandt and Ferrar, told THR. "He needs to be in the spotlight."
Berlusconi has been convicted of false accounting and tax evasion in connection with a multi-million dollar content deal with U.S. film studios, and he is on trial for or appealing charges ranging from bribing a public official and illegal wiretaps to abuse of power and paying a minor for sex.
Mediaset, the television and cinema giant Berlusconi founded and controls, is one of Europe's largest media conglomerates, with three national networks in Italy and one in Spain, the Medusa cinema production and distribution house, and several print media.