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ROME – Refusing to fade away, Italy’s billionaire media mogul and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has said that new elections in Italy could be months away – and he seemed to hint that just maybe he’d again be a candidate to lead the country.
Berlusconi’s latest remarks on politics come amid a wide array of embarrassing revelations tied to charges that he paid an underage stripper who goes by the stage name Ruby the Heart Stealer for sex.
Among the latest revelations: Berlusconi allegedly promised to cover Ruby in gold, and his “bunga bunga” sex parties reportedly included prostitutes dressed as nuns.
But the headline-grabbing revelations have apparently done little to curb Berlusconi’s interest in politics. He said Tuesday that new elections could be called as soon as October and that, if they are, the country needs a new political party – one Berlusconi himself would lead.
The two political parties that the 75-year-old Berlusconi created in the past – Forza Italia in 1994 and the House of Liberty 10 years later – both propelled him to the prime minister’s office.
Berlusconi served as prime minister until last November when he stepped down amid historically low approval levels, personal scandals related to the case involving Ruby and two other open investigations, plus fears that Italy could fall victim to the European debt crisis. Berlusconi and his allies have mostly supported the technocratic government led by former European Commissioner Mario Monti, which came into power five months ago. But Berlusconi’s latest statements indicate that uneasy alliance with Monti’s government could turn sour.
Since stepping down, Berlusconi has dedicated most of the time – at least what time he has left after mounting his legal defenses – to the Mediaset broadcasting and cinema empire he founded. Though his son, Pier Silvio Berlusconi, remains the company’s chairman, the elder Berlusconi has reportedly played a much bigger role in steering the company through the country’s economic malaise, which has severally cut into Mediaset’s advertising sales.
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