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Former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi gets Senate seat after being barred from taking public office due to tax fraud

In 2013, the Senate removed Berlusconi from the conviction of tax fraud stemming from his media venture, and was prohibited from public service for six years.

Rome: Just just in time for his birthday on the 86th day of his birthday, the former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi returns to the Italian parliament, securing an election to the Senate more than 10 years after being barred from holding office for the conviction of tax fraud.

Berlusconi who has been making personal comebacks that have been a staple of Italian political life for more than three decades was elected into Italy’s highest house by more than 50 percent of the votes cast on Sunday in northern Monza in which he manages a soccer club that recently was elevated to Italy’s highest division.

In the end, while his party fell short of its goals in comparison to the general elections in 2018 but it did better than anticipated and Berlusconi’s win was especially heartfelt.

“Regaining seats in the Senate was a form of personal revenge against Berlusconi after all the legal issues the politician faced,” said Massimiliano Panarari Political expert at Rome’s Mercatorum University.

In 2013 the Senate was forced to expel Berlusconi due to an accusation of tax fraud arising from his media venture and was barred from public offices for six months. After he was sentenced to a period of community service the court decided that he could be allowed to hold office in a public capacity and he was elected to the European Parliament in the year 2019.

The third and final term of his premiership was abruptly ended in the year 2011 when the financial markets were skeptical that the billionaire media magnate would manage Italy’s finances in the midst of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

Berlusconi’s Forza Italia center-right party -one of the pioneers of populist political parties in Italy in the 1990sonly gained around 8 percent in the vote on Sunday that was dominated by his close ally Giorgia Meloni. She’s now on track to head the nation’s first ultra-right-wing administration since World War II.

This was a more positive result than expected in the case of Forza Italia, even though it did result in a substantial loss in support when compared to the 14% share of votes it scored in the elections in 2018. The party has weakened in recent times, afflicted by the judicial troubles of Berlusconi and his ongoing health issues however, it has been able to remain relevant.

Surpassing expectation, Forza Italia finished right in front of its other ally, that of the pro-immigrant League of Matteo Salvini which won just 9 percent of the vote which was down from 17% in 2018.

Berlusconi has pledged an influence moderately over the two other more radical groups in the coalition of center-right.

“In the contest in The League, Forza Italia did quite well. Thanks to this fact, Berlusconi will become central in the next government coalition. Berlusconi can claim to be winning these elections,” Panarari said.

The media mogul, who turns 70 on Thursday, did exactly this after the vote was cast.

“Forza Italia was a key factor in the rise of the center-right party and the creation of the next government” Berlusconi enthused in a tweet. “Once again, I am in my service for Italy as well as the country I am passionate about.”

Analysts said that in spite of some “grotesque” performances on TikTok that Berlusconi employed during his campaign to engage younger voters through anecdotes and jokes, the three-time premier achieved a breakthrough in his quest to gain a position on Italy’s political stage.

Its TikTok videos, in which the actor was often dressed in classic suits and ties appeared to be in conflict with the fashion and language of the teens, however, they were often viewed as viral.

“I’ve retained it,” he said in the video clip that went viral that he nailed the fly that fell upon his face during an interview.

There was some controversy late in his campaign when he appeared to defend Russian the president’s incursion into Ukraine by claiming Putin was compelled to do it by pro-Moscow separatists within Donbas.

“The troops were expected to arrive, reach Kyiv within one week, replace Zelensky’s regime with decent citizens, and then depart,” Berlusconi told his popular late-night talk host. Then he retracted his statement to say that his statements were “oversimplified.”

However, Berlusconi is known for his long relationship with Putin The Italian has hosted Putin at his home, hosted the Russian President at his Sardinian residence, and even traveled to Crimea together with Putin in 2014 following his Russian leader annexed Crimea from Ukraine.

Although Berlusconi has found a new political future for himself, the future of his party, in the long run, is uncertain as it appears strongly tied to Berlusconi’s presence in the political arena.

“As long as Silvio Berlusconi lives, Forza Italia lives. The party was never given its own autonomy,” said Sofia Ventura who is a professor of political science at the Bologna’s University of Bologna.

Yet Berlusconi was not the only one to win in the household.

His girlfriend, 32, Marta Fascina, also was elected to the lower chamber of the parliament following her victory within the Sicilian constituency of Marsala, even though she did not show up on the southern side of the Island during the campaign.

In an interview in an Italian publication, Fascina said she used to travel to Sicily with her father during holidays when she was young.

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