Silvio Berlusconi and his party Forza Italia are strong as never before, The former Italian prime minister is coming back to the European political arena, now media billionaire aims to control Italy’s next government.
The 81-year-old TV mogul, Silvio Berlusconi, showed his support to the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, is going to transform his campaign. In 2018, an experienced and influential Berlusconi is back. And though the four-time premier is banned from public office himself, he could still control the next government from behind the scenes, after leveraging the social media that helped bring Donald Trump to power in the U.S.
The Five Star didn’t even exist when he won his last election in 2008. Now it’s leading polls for the March 4 vote after an Internet-based campaign that mobilized disaffected voters and the young. According to the Bloomberg Composite of election polls, Berlusconi’s Forza Italia political party has gained about 4 percentage points since relaunching his Facebook page in October. As a result, he’s edging aside Northern League leader Matteo Salvini as leader of the Italian centre-right.
In fact, Silvio Berlusconi has about a million likes on Facebook and 20,000 followers on Twitter, compared with about 1.2 million and 265,000 respectively for Five Star candidate Luigi Di Maio. In comparison, Beppe Grillo, the comedian who co-founded Five Star in 2009 and is still politically active, has 2 million likes and 2.5 million followers.
Sestino Giacomoni, Berlusconi’s assistant who worked for him throughout his time in government and opposition, said sacramental:
“We have to reach as many people as we can. And that means social media as well as TV.”