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Resurrection of Italy's media magnate Berlusconi

Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 01:52

Italy's economy is on the up and a banking crisis has eased but there's new political issue worrying investors. As Sonia Legg reports, four-time former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi - now aged 81 - is again in the headlines after his right-wing bloc relished a huge political victory in regional elections in Sicily.

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Italy's had its fair share of problems in recent years, not least a banking crisis and slow economic growth. But the Bank of Italy is upbeat. It's predicting growth of 1.5 percent next year and the year after. Even so the headlines are of another revival. A political comeback by four-times former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. His right-wing bloc secured a victory in regional elections in Sicily at the weekend. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) FORMER PRIME MINISTER SILVIO BERLUSCONI SAYING: "Sicily chose the path of change, a real, constructive and serious change, based on honesty, competence and experience." In a post-Harvey Weinstein world some might think Berlusconi has no chance. But there's no logic to Italian politics, leaving some investors shaking their heads. (SOUNDBITE) SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, MARKETING DIRECTOR, JUSTIN URQUHART-STEWART, SAYING: "What is it you have to do to get rid of this individual. He was thrown out of Parliament for tax evasion. He's out all sorts of sexual scandals and things like that. And yet he's bouncing back again. It's really quite remarkable." But many clearly are ready to forgive. Bunga Bunga - the term the billionaire media magnate gave to his wild parties with young women - has even become part of the Italian lexicon. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GIOVANNI ORSINA, PROFESSOR OF CONTEMPORARY HISTORY AT LUISS UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "Even a person who is, I think, eighty-one-years-old and has gone through all these issues and scandals can seem an appealing political possibility not because of his own strength but because of the weaknesses of the others." But Berlusconi's problems aren't all past ones. He was acquitted of having sex with a 17-year-old known as Ruby But he still has to stand trial accused of bribing witnesses to silence them over accusations he paid for sex with young women. He denies all wrongdoing.

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Resurrection of Italy's media magnate Berlusconi

Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 01:52