Alex Constantine - January 22, 2013
Berlusconi keeping show biz, mafia off party list
France 24, January 22, 2013
Silvio Berlusconi arrives at EU headquarters in Brussels for a European People's Party (EPP) summit on December 13, 2012. The former Italian premier, angling for a return to politics in elections next month, has not included the usual unqualified starlets or politicians with mafia links on his party list this time, Italian media reports.
AFP - Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, angling for a return to politics in elections next month, has not included the usual unqualified starlets or politicians with mafia links on his party list this time, Italian media said Tuesday. The scandal-plagued media magnate is reportedly putting aside his penchant for pretty young women to clean up the image of the centre-right People of Freedom (PDL) party ahead of the February 24-25 polls. ...
The three-time premier, who is facing a tough fight against the centre-left in the elections, also cut key allies suspected of links with organised crime -- dubbed "the unpresentables" -- from the party's list, which was unveiled late Monday. The decision came after a bitter fight in particular with former junior economy minister Nicola Cosentino, who has been accused of mafia links but who previously enjoyed parliamentary protection. ...
One of Berlusconi's closest allies and oldest friends, senator Marcello Dell'Utri -- who is appealing a seven-year prison sentence for mafia association -- has also been banned from the list.
But the daily La Repubblica took a dimmer view of the clean-up.
"The most 'unpresentable' of all of them is Berlusconi, who is loaded down with trials and accusations, insinuations and guilty verdicts which have timed-out" under Italy's slow-moving judicial system, wrote columnist Francesco Merlo. "The real aim is to save the family ... the patrimony. The soldiers can and must be sacrificed when the supreme good of power is in play," it added. ...