He may have axed the show girls, but that hasn’t stopped Silvio Berlusconi putting his own candidacy forward in the upcoming European elections.
If he wins an EU parliamentary seat, it would raise the highly unlikely scenario of him resigning as Italy’s prime minister. However, many see the move as a huge popularity stunt. Professor James Walston from the American University said: ‘‘Berlusconi wanted to make the European elections a plebiscite on his government. That is why he is standing in the whole country. He wants to be able to say to Italy and the whole of Europe he is the most popular man in Europe.’‘ Accused of undermining the elections, the feeding frenzy over Berlusconi’s exact relationship with an 18 year old continues. Italy’s Democratic party opposition leader Dario Franceschini recently asked, Would you want the Italian premier to educate your children? Fresh from his success on a popular TV dancing show, Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, the grandson of the last king of Italy is also running. He wants Italian politics to be taken more seriously. “I believe I have travelled all over the world and I can say, unfortunately, Italy has never been taken seriously in the political arena. It’s a real shame because Italy is a great country that merits more,” he said. Italy usually has high voter turnouts and officials expect a similar showing in June’s EU elections. It remains to be seen, however, whether Italy’s political masters will be taken as seriously by their European counterparts.