In Brief

Silvio Berlusconi admitted to hospital with heart problem

Italy's former prime minister being kept under observation but condition is not life threatening

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been admitted to hospital in Milan with a heart problem but his condition is not life threatening, a spokeswoman for his Forza Italia party said.

Hospitalisation was "a precaution" and was necessary after he suffered "cardiac deficiency", San Raffaele hospital said in a statement.

Berlusconi, who turns 80 in September, was reportedly tired at the end of an election campaign and was showing signs of fatigue late on Sunday evening, according to Italian daily newspaper La Stampa.

His condition intensified yesterday to the point that medical staff suggested he be admitted to hospital for observation. He is expected to stay there for a couple of days and will undergo tests to determine his treatment.

The controversial media tycoon and centre-right politician, who was fitted with a pacemaker when he was 70, served in four governments for a total of nine years, making him Italy's longest-serving post-war prime minister.

He has kept a low profile since he was convicted of tax evasion and banned from public office in 2013, but promised earlier this year to return to the frontline of Italian politics and strengthen his party, which he said had been weakened by his absence.

Berlusconi told Italian daily Il Giornale that 2016 will be "the year of the battle against the regime of the left which suspended democracy".

He has pledged to relaunch his Forza Italia party and force out the centre-left government of Matteo Renzi.

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