I won't let my party down, says 'returning Berlusconi'
SILVIO Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, has increased speculation that he will return to front-line politics by disclosing that he wants to relaunch his party under its old name.
For the past few weeks, Mr Berlusconi (75), has been dropping hints that he intends to put himself forward as a candidate for prime minister after he was forced to step down last November.
In an interview with the German newspaper 'Bild', he said he wanted to rename his centre-right People of Freedom party Forza Italia, its former title.
In a self-promoting interview, he added: "I can only say I won't let my old People of Freedom party down. We will soon return to the old party name by the way, Forza Italia (Go Italy)."
Within hours of the interview being picked up by the Italian media, Mr Berlusconi made an about-turn after senior figures in the party complained that he should not have "made any announcement about the party in a German newspaper".
A clearly embarrassed Mr Berlusconi issued a statement: "In the interview that appeared in 'Bild', the idea of a change of name from People of Freedom to Forza Italia was mistaken because, as is logical and evident, it is not a decision taken, just an idea, a proposal to talk about and assess at the appropriate venues."
In the same 'Bild' interview he also claimed that he had changed the course of Italian history.
"My entry into politics 18 years ago saved Italy from Communism; that is a fact that I am very proud of," he said.
Mr Berlusconi, who still faces trial over accusations he paid for sex with a teenager, has kept a relatively low profile since he was forced from office last year in the middle of a financial crisis that threatened to force Italy to default on its €1.9trn public debt. (©Daily Telegraph, London)