Silvio Berlusconi, billionaire, media mogul and former prime minister of Italy, is calling for voters to give him a substantial majority of parliament seats as he vies a third time for the country’s most powerful office. The elections, to be held Sunday and Monday, will decide whether the country is led by a center-left coalition or Berlusconi’s right-wing “Freedom Folks.”

The Guardian:

Silvio Berlusconi yesterday appealed to Italian voters to give him a huge majority at the general election on Sunday and Monday.

He said that “to really govern” he needed a margin of at least 20 seats in the senate, the upper house of the Italian parliament. That would allow him “to take, if necessary, difficult and unpopular decisions”.

Polls have indicated that the 71-year-old media mogul is on the brink of a remarkable comeback, two years after being edged from power. But, because of a ban on polling in the final fortnight of the campaign, the most recent soundings — showing Berlusconi leading by 5% to 9% — date from the end of March. They also suggested that a third of voters had yet to make up their minds.

Though Berlusconi told La Stampa newspaper he was confident his right-wing Freedom Folk would secure the necessary majority in parliament, his rivals pounced on his appeal as evidence he was uncertain of victory. A narrow majority could also leave him a political hostage to the whims of the anti-immigrant Northern League, with which his party is allied.

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