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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Berlusconi Visits Naples Ahead of Italy’s General Election

NAPLES, Italy – Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s former prime minister and leader of the center-right Forza Italia party, visited Naples on Saturday to do some sightseeing and walk among the crowd on the final day of reflection before Sunday’s general election.

“A day to relax on the streets of downtown Naples with Francesca,” Berlusconi wrote on Twitter, thanking the people of Naples for their warm welcome.

He also posted a short video of himself walking in that southern Italian city surrounded by a crowd, with some showing their support for Forza Italia.

The three-time former prime minister, who is barred from holding office until next year due to a tax-fraud conviction, was accompanied by his companion, Francesca Pascale, who at 32 is 49 years younger than he is.

Berlusconi visited the Museo Cappella Sansevero, one of Naples’ most important museums, and had his photo taken with supporters and onlookers.

Il Cavaliere (The Knight, as he is affectionately known) spoke with some Neapolitans and praised them for their “art treasures,” saying they should “feel extremely proud.”

On his train ride to Naples, Berlusconi posted several photos of himself reading the morning press.

“I am re-reading my interview in the weekly Chi,” he said on Twitter, referring to a gossip magazine published by the Mondadori Group, which is owned by the Berlusconi family.

“I talked about my family ... and my projects for Italy. Don’t miss it!” he added.

Forza Italia has been calling for people’s votes all day Saturday on Twitter with promotional videos and interviews, as has its center-right coalition partner, Matteo Salvini’s Northern League (LN).

Salvini posted a coy message featuring his party’s symbol with a check mark together with the question, “What are you doing tomorrow from 7 am to 11 pm?”

Italians will decide the makeup of the new national Parliament in Sunday’s balloting, with the center-right alliance linking Forza Italia and two euroskeptic groupings – the anti-immigrant LN and the far-right Brothers of Italy – expected to obtain a plurality but not a majority of votes.

Berlusconi endorsed this week European Parliament President Antonio Tajani – a long-time Forza Italia member – to be prime minister if Forza Italia is the leading vote-getter among the center-right alliance.

Salvini is the LN’s candidate for premier.

Also competing in Sunday’s election are a center-left alliance led by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement led by Luigi Di Maio.

 

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