December 13, 2010 / 2:41 PM / 9 years ago

Factbox: Silvio Berlusconi's gaffes, quips and pranks

(Reuters) - Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who faces a no-confidence motion on Tuesday that could sink his government, has a sense of humor that often lands him in trouble. Here are some of his memorable quotes.

NOV 2010: “As always, I work without interruption and if occasionally I happen to look a beautiful girl in the face, it’s better to like beautiful girls than to be gay,” he tells a meeting at a motorcycle industry show in Milan.

OCT 2010: A video emerges in the Italian media of Berlusconi describing a fictional Jewish family agreeing to hide another Jew during the Holocaust, on condition that he pays 3,000 euros a day. He describes a member of the family asking another: “Do you think we should tell him that Hitler is dead and the war is over?”

The premier comes under strong criticism from Jewish groups.

APRIL 2009: Berlusconi bellows “Mr Obama!” after an official photocall in London’s Buckingham Palace during a meeting of G20 leaders. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth asks: “Why does he have to shout?”

APRIL 2009: During a visit to survivors of an earthquake in the central Abruzzo region, who were staying in emergency tents, Berlusconi says: “They should see it like a weekend of camping.”

NOV 2008 — Berlusconi hails Barack Obama as “handsome, young and also suntanned,” after he was elected the United States’ first black president.

FEB 2006 — “I am the Jesus Christ of politics,” Italian media quote Berlusconi as telling supporters. “I am a patient victim, I put up with everyone, I sacrifice myself for everyone.”

FEB 2006 — “Only Napoleon did more than I have done,” he tells a TV talk show. “But I am definitely taller.”

JAN 2006 — Berlusconi promises to give up sex until the next election. “Thank you dear Father Massimiliano,” he tells a preacher who praised him for defending family values. “I’ll try not to let you down and I promise you two and a half months of complete sexual abstinence until April 9.”

JUNE 2005 — Berlusconi says he used his manly charms to persuade Finland’s president, Tarja Halonen, to give up her country’s claim to host the new European Food Safety Authority.

“I had to use all my playboy tactics, even if they have not been used for some time,” he said. Finnish ambassador protests.

SEPT 2004 — “Mussolini never killed anyone. Mussolini sent people on holiday in (internal) exile,” Berlusconi tells Britain’s Spectator magazine, replying “yes” when asked if he thought the World War Two dictator was “benign.”

JULY 2003 — “Mr Schulz, I know there is in Italy a man producing a film on the Nazi concentration camps. I would like to suggest you for the role of Kapo. You’d be perfect,” Berlusconi told socialist German lawmaker Martin Schulz, who was heckling him during his debut at the European Parliament. A kapo was a concentration camp inmate who was given privileges for supervising prisoner work gangs, often brutally.

JUNE 2003 — “One citizen is equal to another (in the eyes of the law) but perhaps this one is slightly more equal than the others, given that 50 percent of Italians have given him the responsibility of governing the country,” he says, referring to himself, during an appearance at his corruption trial in Milan.

DEC 2002 — “The most keen can certainly find a second job, maybe unofficial,” Berlusconi says, encouraging laid-off Fiat workers to seek employment on the black market.

FEB 2002 — During a group photograph at an informal EU summit in Spain, Berlusconi raises two fingers behind the head of the Spanish foreign minister, Josep Pique, in the traditional Latin gesture for a cuckold.

OCT 2001 — Berlusconi sparks an outcry in the Muslim world when he says the West should be aware of its own “superiority.”

“We should be conscious of the superiority of our civilization, which consists of a value system that has given people widespread prosperity in those countries that embrace it, and guarantees respect for human rights and religion,” he said.

“This respect certainly does not exist in the Islamic countries.” (Compiled by Rome Newsroom)

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