Berlusconi calls it a day

2012-10-24 22:35
Silvio Berlusconi (AFP)

Silvio Berlusconi (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rome - Italy's Silvio Berlusconi said on Wednesday that he would not run in elections early next year and hand his People of Freedom party over to a successor, ending months of uncertainty over his candidacy.

"I will not be presenting my candidacy but I will remain at the side of younger people who can play and score goals," said the media magnate, who founded the party in 2009 and is famous for talking politics in football terms.

The 76-year-old tycoon, who owns AC Milan football club and three national television channels as well as several private villas, said in a statement that his successor would be appointed by the end of December following a party vote.

"I still have good muscles and a head on my shoulders, but my role will be to give advice", he said, adding that the vote may take place on 16 December.

"For the love of Italy one can do crazy and wise things. Eighteen years ago I came onto the scene, a mad move that did not lack wisdom: I now take a step back," the billionaire said, putting to an end speculation over his return.

The move came as his scandal-hit PDL party tries to boost its credibility following a series of investigations into misuse of party funds.

The former prime minister had retreated from the political frontlines after handing over power in November 2011 to former European competition commissioner Mario Monti amid a parliamentary revolt and a wave of financial market panic.

There had been speculation since then as to whether he would try a comeback.

The PDL has suffered a series of local election setbacks and is riven by infighting, and many supporters had been urging Berlusconi to return to lead the party in the upcoming elections, set for April next year.

Ruby the Heart Stealer

Berlusconi said it was now up to the party secretary Angelino "Alfano and a new generation of young people to reproduce the miracle of 1994", when the man famed for his love of wild parties was first appointed prime minister.

His decision to step aside revealed fears that he could not hope to muster enough support to lead Italy's centre-right to victory.

The former premier, who was seen as a blast of fresh air when he burst onto the scene in the 1990s after a period of political corruption and scandal, has been hit hard by his own fraud and sex scandals and has lost many supporters.

The PDL has been unable to persuade smaller centrist parties to join forces with them for the upcoming elections despite several attempts at deal-making.

Berlusconi will be hoping that a fresh face at the head of the party can help it regain ground in the polls.

The former premier has been fighting legal battles for 20 years. Despite some initial convictions for fraud and lingering accusations of alliances with convicted crooks, all cases against him were won on appeal or have expired.

He is currently on trial for fraud, bribery and paying for sex with a 17-year-old prostitute nick-named "Ruby the Heart Stealer".

The sex trial was one of the last in a series of scandals that helped precipitate the media tycoon's downfall.

Read more on:    silvio berlusconi  |  italy

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!

Hundreds of complaints are filed every year from victims who were scammed when buying a dog online.



WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
11 animals before and after they were adopted from shelters
Competition pet grooming – creative or too extreme?
5 Celebrities who are afraid of animals
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.