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Berlusconi named 'Rock Star of the Year'

The Italian edition of 'Rolling Stone' has named Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi its "Rock Star of the Year", paying tribute to his "lifestyle worthy of the greatest rock star".

An illustration of a smiling Berlusconi emblazons the cover of 'Rolling Stone's' December issue, against the backdrop of the Italian flag.

Editor Carlo Antonelli said the 73-year-old had been chosen unanimously by the magazine's editorial staff.

"This year the choice was unanimous, for his obvious merits due to a lifestyle for which the words 'rock and roll' fall short," Antonelli said. "Rod Stewart, Brian Jones, Keith Richards in their prime were schoolboys compared to him."

It has been a turbulent year for billionaire Berlusconi, with his second wife, Veronica Lario, demanding a divorce in May after photographs emerged of Berlusconi attending the 18th birthday party of aspiring model Noemi Letizia.

Italy was subsequently convulsed, with the Italian Church voicing its "mortification", when call girl Patrizia D'Addario in July alleged she had been paid to attend a party at Berlusconi's Rome mansion and had slept with the prime minister.

The scandals made front page news around the globe, but had only a moderate impact on Berlusconi's robust popularity ratings in Italy.

Antonelli denied that his magazine had any political agenda behind its choice.

"We are far from favouring left or right . . . Silvio Berlusconi's daily behaviour, his furious vitality, his inimitable lifestyle have given him, especially this year, incredible international popularity," he said.

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