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Berlusconi denies he might run for Bulgaria in European bid

Billionaire ex-premier says 'it never crossed his mind'

04 December, 19:36
Berlusconi denies he might run for Bulgaria in European bid (ANSA) - Rome, December 4 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday denied reports he might run for the European Parliament as another country's candidate.

''It never crossed my mind'', said the three-time premier and media mogul. ''I read about it in the newspapers and I'm astonished no one thought to call me for confirmation''.

The leader of a small, centre-right Bulgarian party said earlier Wednesday he wants Berlusconi to be a candidate for the group in next year's European elections.

''Silvio Berlusconi is more patriotic than all of our MEPs put together,'' Order, Law and Justice (RZS) party leader Yane Yanev told BTV network.

Berlusconi was ejected from the Italian Senate last week and is ineligible to stand in fresh elections after Italy's Supreme Court upheld a tax-fraud verdict against him, making it definitive.

European citizens can run in any EU country in European elections, which has led to speculation Berlusconi could stand outside Italy to get around his ban on holding public office and re-acquire the immunity from arrest he lost when he was stripped of his seat in parliament.

Bulgaria was mentioned as a possibility, given Berlusconi's warm relations with former Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. But the move is seen as unlikely, with some reports saying the 77-year-old billionaire would be ineligible in Bulgaria anyway because of his ban in Italy.