The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says he would resign if allegations that he had an affair with a teenage girl were true. Facing increasing demands to explain his relationship with the 18-year-old, Berlusconi again denied any wrongdoing.
Speaking in Rome he said: “If someone asked whether I had ‘a relationship, let’s say steamy or more than steamy, with an underage girl’, my answer would be: ‘Absolutely not!’ I have sworn it on the life of my children. I am aware that, if this were perjury, I would have to resign a minute later.”
Berlusconi’s relationship with Noemi Letizia has become an explosive political issue in Italy since it emerged he attended her 18th birthday party and gave her an expensive necklace. Soon after, his wife demanded a divorce claiming to be fed up with his alleged womanising.
The opposition Democratic party has targeted the Prime Minister’s behaviour on the campaign trail ahead of the European elections. But today centre-left leader Dario Franceschini apologised to Berlusconi’s children for causing them any offence, saying “they shouldn’t be involved in a political debate.”
The 72-year-old media magnate normally has the backing of the Roman Catholic establishment in Italy, but it has also criticised him for setting a bad example to the country’s young people with his behaviour and his very public second divorce. However, despite the rumours, Berlusconi and his People of Freedom Party continue to enjoy strong popular support in the opinion polls.
Berlusconi "would resign" if affair claims were true