Trump election: Italy's Berlusconi accepts comparisons
- 12 November 2016
- From the section Europe
Disgraced former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said comparisons between himself and US President-elect Donald Trump are "obvious".
Berlusconi told an Italian daily that Americans had chosen Mr Trump, "now let him go to work".
Both men both entered politics from the world of business, Berlusconi a media magnate and Mr Trump a property tycoon.
Legal battles have dogged Mr Trump but unlike Berlusconi, he has no criminal convictions.
Aged 70, the man who defeated Hillary Clinton at Tuesday's polls is one of America's most famous and colourful billionaires, with a net worth of $3.7bn (£2.9bn; €3.4bn), according to Forbes business magazine.
Berlusconi, 80, served four terms as prime minister before his criminal convictions in 2013 and 2015. Forbes values him and his family at $5.9bn.
Asked what they had in common, Berlusconi told Italian daily Corriere della Sera (in Italian): "There are some obvious similarities even though my story as an entrepreneur is very different to Trump's, whom I've never met."
The Italian politician did not go into detail but similarities he may have had in mind include:
- Startling looks: Mr Trump's hair has intrigued the media for decades with its flamboyant combover while Berlusconi popped up in public with a bandana in 2004 when (it later emerged) he was having implants done. Orange skin tones associated with both men have also attracted attention
- Sex lives: Allegations of sex parties clouded Berlusconi while historic sexual misconduct claims against Mr Trump multiplied during the election campaign
- Gaffes: Mr Trump's comments about women, both on the record and off, have got him into trouble repeatedly while Berlusconi raised a storm in 2008 by describing Barack Obama, America's first black president, as "young, handsome, and tanned"
Italians have not been slow to pick up on the comparisons between the incoming US president and their former prime minister, fusing the two on social media as "Trumpusconi".
In the interview, Berlusconi stopped short of welcoming Mr Trump's victory but the centre-right politician explained why he thought Mrs Clinton had been defeated.
Mr Trump, he argued, "was elected by all Americans weary of an old political order".
This group had, he suggested, made a "mistake typical of all the left around the world" in "thinking that "'political correctness' was the way to keep close to people's needs".
A constitutional reform referendum due to be held in Italy on 4 December is being seen as a vote of confidence in the country's current Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi. He has threatened to resign if he loses the vote.
Opinion polls suggest he risks a narrow defeat and that would boost Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement.
Five Star's founder, ex-comic Beppe Grillo, has described Mr Trump's election victory as "the apocalypse for information, TV, the big newspapers, the intellectuals, the journalists".