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article imageOp-Ed: Berlusconi shows you're never too old to party

By Lewis McCathie     Mar 24, 2011 in Politics
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi likes to keep things interesting doesn't he?
After photos of his infamous 'bunga bunga' parties recently surfaced in the media, it seems the Italian PM is tarnishing his own reputation even further.
The photos are certainly raunchy and make his constant denial of any wrongdoing look borderline ridiculous.
On April 6 he is set to face charges in court over his alleged affair with an under-age belly-dancer named Ruby at one of his wild parties.
However crucial evidence is stacked against him. According to studentthinktank, after police tapped her phone calls, it seems that she most likely did in fact have sex with the 74-year-old PM, it is widely believed that the evidence is that convincing. Another reason why the April 6 court case might spell the end of his career is that out of the three judges presiding over the trial, all are women, reports CNN.
This is not the first time the controversial leader has faced a scandal involving a beautiful woman. In 2009 his marriage came to an end as his wife filed for divorce, as a result of his frivolous lifestyle with young attractive women, stating that she "cannot remain with a man who consorts with minors". The divorce happened during the time of the Noemi Letizia scandal. Letizia's dad was an Italian councillor who knew the Italian PM. Thus Berlusconi attended her 18th birthday party as a surprise guest, and this consequently resulted in a media storm claiming that the PM was having a secret relationship with the aspiring model.
These rumours were definitely not helped when she called the PM 'papa' in TV interviews and when her ex-boyfriend claimed that she had spent time alone with Berlusconi, a fact that was later confirmed by her mother. Throughout 2009 the PM was constantly being reported -by many media outlets- to have paid various escorts to spend the night with him on many occasions, and even though he denied these further allegations, it remains unclear whether they are true or not.
This staggering amount of bad press aimed at the 74-year-old creates the question: how is he still in power?
Are the Italian people more than used to his wild parties and alleged sleazy ways? Or is he just too damn powerful?
He has never been far from scandal throughout his 15 year political career, so this may be true to a certain extent.
However he controls Italian media. Not only is he the most powerful person in Italian politics, but he is a feared media tycoon; owning AC Milan football club, the top three national TV channels, as well as maintaining a tight grip on national broadcaster, Radiotelevisione Italiana, Open Society Foundations has reported.
So as he prepares to face a serious criminal trial in a matter of days, that could potentially destroy his career once and for all, you find yourself asking: is the biggest Italian political figure since Mussolini finished? Or is this 'scandal' just another little nuisance that has no chance of stopping the great Berlusconi?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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