REFILE-FACTBOX-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

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March 5 (BestGrowthStock) – The spotlight will fall on Prime
Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Friday when he is likely to hold
an emergency cabinet meeting to respond to a string of setbacks
that have left his coalition in chaos.

Here are some facts about the conservative leader.

BERLUSCONI’S TURBULENT CAREER:

* Berlusconi launched his own centre-right party in Jan.
1994, promoting a “you can be rich like me” message. He became
prime minister in May 1994 but survived in office for just eight
months.

* Swept back to power by a landslide victory in 2001,
Berlusconi promised to make Italy more business-friendly and cut
red tape. But change came slower than many hoped and he lost a
parliamentary election in April 2006 by the narrowest margin in
Italian history. He came back to power in 2008 with a manifesto
that stressed law and order.

* Berlusconi has kept control of his media empire, laying
himself open to accusations of a conflict between his political
and business interests and leaving him vulnerable to numerous
corruption investigations into him and his companies. He has
never been convicted of any crime and faces the reopening of
several trials against him after being stripped of immunity from
prosecution.

* On Dec. 13, a man with a history of mental illness struck
him in the face with a miniature replica of Milan’s Duomo
cathedral. Berlusconi’s popularity rating, which had been
falling in previous months, bounced back above 50 percent after
the attack.

* Berlusconi’s allies have blamed a “climate of hate”,
saying some opposition politicians and journalists were “morally
responsible” for the attack. The regional polls are seen as a
test of national strength for Berlusconi.

LIFE DETAILS:

* Berlusconi made his fortune during a property boom in
Milan in the 1960s and 1970s. He moved into television and his
family now owns Italy’s leading private TV network, Mediaset.
His interests also include Italian soccer club AC Milan.
Combining smooth talk with a common touch, he is one of Italy’s
richest men.

* Born in Milan in September 1936, Berlusconi entered
politics in 1994.

* He spent much of 2009 facing lurid scandals surrounding
his private life, including allegations of an improper
relationship with a teenage model and parties with escorts.

— His second wife, Veronica Lario, asked for a divorce in
2009, saying she could not stay with a man “who frequents
minors”. He had attended the 18th birthday party of an aspiring
model in Naples.

Stock Market Report
(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

REFILE-FACTBOX-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi