Is the party over for Silvio Berlusconi?
Several of today’s Italian newspapers believe early elections are inevitable after the prime minister was indicted for trial over alleged sex offences and abuse of power.
Prosecutors say they have ample evidence he paid for sex with an underage prostitute and intervened with police to try to free her from custody.
Berlusconi insists it is business as usual. He claims his coalition partners remain on board in government and has vowed to see out his term until 2013.
“I can only say one thing: I’m not worried at all. Okay? That’s all,” he smiled as he spoke at a news conference.
The Moroccan dancer known as Ruby, at the centre of the case, has denied having sex with Berlusconi but admits receiving several thousand euros after going to a party at his villa.
The prime minister, who denies any wrongdoing, believes the charges are politically motivated.
He still has his backers: “I judge him as a politician who’s made a big contribution, and will continue to do so for the good of Italy,” said one man in Rome.
“They only talk about this … enough is enough. They’re not talking about politics anymore. They’re talking just about him…that’s all,” complained another.
Satirists are having a field day. An Italian band has rewritten Shakira’s song Waka Waka, calling it “Bunga Bunga”… Berlusconi’s own term for his infamous parties.