Berlusconi 'could run as a Bulgarian MEP'

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The Italian press has speculated that Silvio Berlusconi might run as an MEP. Photo: AFP
17:02 CET+01:00
This time last week, the prospects for Silvio Berlusconi’s political future were looking decidedly dim as senators prepared to oust him from parliament. But now speculation is mounting that he could bid to become a member of the European Parliament - for Bulgaria.

Reports in the Italian press speculated that Berlusconi might be planning to run as a candidate in next May’s European elections.

Despite being convicted of fraud and banned from holding public office in Italy, Berlusconi can take advantage of an EU law allowing every EU citizen to run in the elections in any member state.

Aside from clinging on in politics, there is another motive: if Berlusconi runs as an MEP candidate, he will once again have immunity from which he was stripped in Italy.

The Italian press suggest Bulgaria would be his best bet, owing to his friendship with the country’s former prime minister, Boyko Borisov. However, in order to run for election in Bulgaria, he would need Bulgarian citizenship.

Borisov has also said there has been “no discussion” about Berlusconi running for MEP and that "he won’t be a candidate in the European elections”, according to a report in Il Fatto Quotidiano. Estonia and Hungary are other options, according to the newspaper.

Berlusconi is now banned from taking part in a general election in Italy for six years and has lost parliamentary immunity, which offers safeguards against arrest.

Still, several polls show that the 77-year-old's popularity is undimmed among core supporters and a centre-right coalition led by him as figurehead could still win elections.

Other ongoing scandals might leave him with little time to run as an MEP: he is currently appealing convictions for having sex with an underage prostitute and abusing the powers of the prime minister's office.

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He also faces trial for bribing a leftist senator to join his party's ranks and could come under investigation for paying off trial witnesses. 

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