Berlusconi back in business

Italy's former PM and most prominent businessman, Silvio Berlusconi, is not the kind of man to sit quietly on the sidelines, so rumours that he is to found a new political party with an ex-Miss Italy contestant is the kind of cringing move you would expect of this attention-seeking media mogul.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

According to the Italian press, the 39-year-old Michela Brambilla, nicknamed La Rossa for her flame-coloured hair, has a grassroots network of 15,000 political clubs behind her - and Berlusconi wants some of the action. It's ironic, considering Italy's diminishing press freedom, that the name of the would-be party is mooted as ‘The Freedom Party'.

But with the political left forming a stronger coalition in October, Berlusconi is scrabbling around to find all the support he can to muster a single right-wing party - something that is looking unlikely to happen. And Brambilla's supporters are young and influential enough to sway Italy's next general election, which could be held early next year.

Disappointing though it might be, it's likely that some of Brambilla's appeal to Berlusconi, aside from her ‘entrepreneurial outlook' and ‘straight-talking' are her genes. He has already described her as a ‘wonderful person'.

Knowing the blurred line between Italian media and politics, surely it's just a matter of time before Berlusconi, who is part-owner of TV production company Endemol, offers her a lead role in Big Brother… Now, that surely would get the voters flocking.

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