Today, the Italian parliament will begin the voting process to determine who will be the country’s next president. Although initially on the list of candidates, Silvio Berlusconi revealed on Saturday that he was withdrawing from the competition in a spirit of “national responsibility”. In the past, Mr. Berlusconi was famous for making his views known in brutal, colorful and sometimes combative language. So what are his five most outrageous quotes?
“I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I sacrifice myself for everyone. – 2006.
At a campaign rally nearly 16 years ago, the 85-year-old was criticized by politicians from all parties in Italy for making the above comment.
Mr Berlusconi has been accused of offending the majority Catholic community in Italy, with Vatican officials chastising him for jokingly saying the words.
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Scandals about his private life
“When asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30% of women said ‘Yes’, while the remaining 70% said ‘What, again?'” – 2011
The four-time former Italian prime minister made the comments when allegations emerged about his relationships with younger women and prostitutes.
Later, as accusations persisted over the escorts and his infamous ‘Bunga, bunga’ parties, Mr Berlusconi confessed: ‘I’m not a saint, you all get it.’
“Mussolini never killed anyone. Mussolini used to send people on vacation to internal exile.” – September 2003
Mr Berlusconi made the comment during an interview with reporters after comparing Iraq after Saddam to Italy in the years after Mussolini.
He later clarified his comment by saying at a press conference: “I did not accept his comparison, or the comparison of my country to another dictator or another dictatorship, that of Saddam Hussein, who caused millions of deaths.”
Benito Mussolini was the leader of the National Fascist Party and in 1925 established a dictatorship in Italy.
In 1935, Mussolini ordered the brutal occupation of the African nation Ethiopia, considered one of the precursors to World War II.
Indeed, its union with Nazi Germany saw Italian Jews persecuted and sent to Adolf Hitler’s concentration camps.