Berlusconi introduces his new First Lady – Francesca, 27
Ex-prime minister has an 'enterprising' girlfriend with whom to make his political comeback
IT SEEMS that Silvio Berlusconi is back in the game in more ways than one. As the perma-tanned 76-year-old embarks on an unlikely bid to become prime minister of Italy for a fourth time, he has a new squeeze in tow who, at 27 years old, is almost 50 years his junior.
Rumours that Berlusconi had been dating former TV showgirl Francesca Pascale were confirmed first by one his own MPs, Daniela Santanche, and then, according to The Times, in a "small item on page five of the Berlusconi family's newspaper, Il Giornale".
Pascale, who was a pro-Berlusconi councillor in Naples and even founded a group called "Silvio We Will Miss You" when he was ousted from office in 2006, has been linked to Berlusconi since 2010, although they first met in 2004, when she was still a teenager.
In 2011 her Smart car was spotted outside Berlusconi's Rome palazzo after his government collapsed. She has also been pictured alongside the former prime minister at AC Milan football matches. He owns the team.
The Times also reports that Pascale and Berlusconi were spotted having dinner with his daughter, Marina, on Sunday night. At 46, Marina is old enough to be Pascale's mother.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Pascale claims her life revolves around three things - her family, politics, and Signor Berlusconi."[She] is said to be jealous of the other women in his inner circle, including Mara Carfagna, a glamour model whom he appointed equal opportunities minister in his last government.”
In the Italian media, Pascale has already been dubbed the country's new 'First Lady', even if her boyfriend is out of power currently.
La Repubblica described Pascale as "enterprising" and "careerist" but others have queried her motives. "She, like all the others, was in search of success on TV and is now mysteriously in love with politics," sniffed blogger Elide Messineo.
Meanwhile another former Berlusconi squeeze, teenage belly-dancer Karima El Mahroug, better known as Ruby the Heart Stealer, is back in the news after she missed a court date in Milan.
Berlusconi is on trial for allegedly paying Roby for sex when she was underage. Her lawyer said she was in Mexico.