Italy’s Berlusconi Discovers Social Media As A Campaign Tool

May 26, 2015

Italy holds regional elections on Sunday, and one politician trying to make a comeback is the scandal-plagued former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Taking his cue from Italy’s digitally savvy young Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Berlusconi has opened an Instagram account, posting more than 60 photos on the first day alone.

We see Berlusconi posing with trophies of his soccer team, A.C. Milan, addressing rallies, and selfies of the 78-year-old media tycoon with his 29-year-old girlfriend Francesca Pascale — as well as Berlusconi hugging his white poodle Dudu.

The man, who while in office often boasted of his face lifts and hair transplants, still wears pancake makeup and has a hair color and texture that do not exist in nature. The politician who hosted “bunga bunga” sex parties with starlets, can be seen sitting at rest watching the Eurovision song contest on TV.

Sunday’s vote will be the first big test of Berlusconi’s center-right Forza Italia Party since the former prime minister finished serving a tax fraud conviction in March.

His passion, however, for the hustings seems long gone.

“The court banned me from running for office for six years, and given my age, all I can do is campaign for other candidates, and promote our great crusade,” Berlusconi says.

Berlusconi’s party broke off its agreement to back Prime Minister Renzi’s constitutional reform program, and now, Berlusconi is campaigning like an outsider.

His party is polling at less than 12 percent, one third of Renzi’s center-left Democratic Party.

Barring last-minute surprises — perhaps thanks to Instagram — Italy could be witnessing the twilight of Berlusconi’s political career.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Our lives have changed ...

CPR will not compromise in serving you and our community. Vital news and essential music are made possible by member support.

Donate