Well, notwithstanding the publications of saucy photos and an attempt by the Left to demonize his personal behavior, Berlusconi's party came up strong in the EU elections.
A poll commissioned by La Repubblica newspaper gave the billionaire businessman's People of Freedom Party between 39 and 43 per cent of the vote and the left-wing opposition between 27 and 31 per cent of the vote. It showed that the anti-immigration, Right-wing Northern League, an ally of Mr Berlusconi's party, attracted between 6.5 and 10.5 per cent of the vote The results, collated by polling agency IPR marketing, were preliminary, appearing within minutes of voting coming to an end late on Sunday night.Detailed election results here.
They were based on a poll of 5,000 people carried out as Italians cast their votes.
In the past, however, exit polls and early projections have turned out to be highly unreliable in Italy, in part because some voters are reluctant to admit that they have voted for Right-wing parties.
But if proved to be accurate, the results appeared to chime with trends across Europe, in which centre-Right parties looked set for victories while centre-Left parties such as Britain's Labour were punished at the polls.
While Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party appeared to have fared well, a vote of 39-43 per cent is far lower than the 70 per cent approval rating that he often claims for himself.
Nor could the projected vote be interpreted as a heavy defeat for the opposition - the Democratic Party was hoping to win at least 27 per cent of the vote, so anything over that would be seen as a bonus.
If confirmed, the government's share of the vote would be similar to the 37.4 per cent that Mr Berlusconi's party won in the lower house of parliament in last year's general election, which propelled him to a third stint as prime minister. His party had hoped to win at least 40 per cent of the European election vote, in the first test of its popularity since being elected to government last year.
Mr Berlusconi, 72, accused the opposition Democratic Party of collaborating with Italy's "Leftist" press to embarrass him by leaking details of his divorce and his friendship with Noemi Letizia, whose 18th birthday party he recently attended.
"The electoral results will represent a terrible defeat for this Left, which has substituted an electoral programme - which it doesn't have - for calumny," he said last week.
While pollsters predict a lurch to the right in many countries across European, Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party, which recently merged with a party founded by the political heirs of Benito Mussolini, is already firmly in occupation of the centre-Right end of the political spectrum.
Since being elected for a third time as prime minister last year, he has announced a crackdown on law and order, putting armed troops on the streets, making illegal immigration a crime, ordering a census of the Roma gypsy population and pushing boat loads of immigrants back to Libya without letting them land on Italian soil.
Italy, with a population of 58 million, sends 72 MEPs to Brussels.
(ANSA) - Rome, June 8 - Center-right parties came out ahead in this weekend's European elections in Italy as in the most of the European Union in a vote marked by absenteeism and concern over the economic crisis.Commentary:
Although voter turnout was a record low for Italy it was still one of the best in the EU with two out of three, 66.5%, Italians going to the polls, down 6.4% percentage points from 2004.
In the EU as a whole, just over 43% voted.
In Italy, Premier Silvio Berlusconi's conservative People of Freedom (PdL) failed to make the gains it sought and even lost ground compared to last spring's general elections.
With almost all votes counted, the PdL won 35.23% of the vote which was an improvement over the 32.4% won by its two main components - Forza Italia and the National Alliance - in the last European elections but below the 37.4% of the vote which brought it to power last year and much less than Berlusconi's optimistic prediction of 45%.
The PdL's main ally, the North League, was perhaps the big winner at the weekend breaking the 10% threshold to achieve its best result ever of some 10.21 %, compared to 5% five years ago and 8.3% in the 2008 general elections.
On the opposition, the Democratic Party (PD) raked in about 26.14% of the vote, compared to 31.1% in 2004, when it was part of the Olive Tree alliance, and 33.2% last year.
The Italy of Values party of ex-Clean Hands prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro was another big winner and collected 8% of the vote compared to 2.1% in 2004 and 4.4% in 2008.
The Union of Center (UDC) party of former House speaker Pier Ferdinando Casini won 6.51% of the vote, an improvement over 5.9% in 2004 and 5.6% last year.
All other parties, including those on the far Left and Right, failed to break the 4% threshold on a national level.
Both the PdL and the PD blamed their lower-than-expected results on absenteeism.
MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, as I have noted before, the brouhaha over Berlusconi's private life is an orchestrated effort to bring about the downfall of a right wing, pro-Israeli, Euro sceptic government led by the most charismatic leader on the European continent...