Silvio Berlusconi is engaged.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Berlusconi made the announcement in an interview with Domenica Live, a talk show on Canale 5 TV, just one of the broadcast networks he owns.
“Finally I feel less lonely. I am engaged to a Neapolitan, it’s official. She is 27 years old, with very solid values, beautiful on the outside and even more beautiful on the inside.”
“She is very close to me, she loves me very much and I feel the same. My daughter Marina appreciates her and loves her very much too.”
The object of the father-of-five’s affections is Francesca Pascale, and at 49 years junior to the 76-year-old media tycoon, they make a striking couple in photographs.
However, there could be at least one complication.
The former Italian prime minister — who recently declared he is running for the premiership again in 2013 — “has yet to reach agreement with Veronica Lario [second wife] on the terms of their divorce … settlement,” notes the Daily Telegraph.
Currently fighting charges in a Milan trial that he paid for and had sex with an underage prostitute, Karima El-Mahroug, the outspoken politician is also facing charges of abusing his power to effect the illegal release of Mahroug from police custody while he was prime minister.
Berlusoni and El-Mahroug — colloquially known as “Ruby the Heart Stealer” — have both publicly denied the charges.
Asked in the interview about the so -called “Bunga Bunga” parties where it’s alleged he engaged in lewd activity with numerous women, Berlusconi said: “It was a time when I felt very lonely. I had just got divorced, my sister had died,” the Daily Telegraph reports.
Elaborating, the billionaire said, “Then someone said: ‘Why don’t we organize some soirées?’ I was tricked.”
Dismissing his ongoing trial as “incredible machination,”according to the Daily Telegraph, Berlusconi explains that:
“It was an excuse to put in place a giant operation for defamation against me and against the Italian government, including on an international level. Politicians get used to all kinds of slights after 20 years in politics. But there is one thing that cries out for vengeance before God and before man. I have been sentenced by a panel of judges in Milan!”
Berlusonci’s romance with Miss. Pascale blossomed after she co-founded a “Berlusconi support group called ‘Silvio, we miss you,'” the paper reports.
Stepping down from a “provincial councilor” position in Berlusconi’s center-right People of Freedom (PDL) party in July, reportedly the former shop assistant is already referred to as Italy’s new “First lady” by one Italian newspaper.
For her part, Miss. Pascale has been quoted as saying that her life “revolved around three things: family, politics, and Berlusconi,” said The Sydney Morning Herald.