Italy’s Berlusconi combative after hospital stays

Italy's Berlusconi combative after hospital stays
Former Italian PM Berlusconi. Photo: Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said Sunday that he was doing better after repeated hospital stays in recent months and would remain active in politics.

“Fortunately I’m doing better, but the doctors won’t let me take part in public events yet. Nevertheless, I promise to be with you soon,” the 84-year-old told a meeting of his Forza Italia party by phone, according to media reports.

Berlusconi’s four hospital stays this year – most recently in May – were prompted by complications from his coronavirus infection in 2020.

He spent several days in a Monaco hospital in January for a heart arrythmia, while in September he was treated for a lung infection linked to Covid-19.

But the billionaire media mogul insisted that “we are still moved by the love and civic passion for our country that we brought into politics 27 years ago, and with which we still look to the future”.

“I’m still in the game.. you know me, I’ve never let myself be discouraged by any kind of obstacle,” he added.

Berlusconi offered a slew of political proposals, including a merger between Forza Italia, the League led by Matteo Salvini and the Brothers of Italy (FDI) led by Giorgia Meloni into a single right-wing force at the next parliamentary elections.

While some observers have seen his grip on the party slackening given his age and health problems, he said that “whatever Forza Italia’s decision, it’s me that will take it in concert with our leadership”.

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