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'Berlusconi to wed on Ischia in June'

Fiancee Pascale, 49 years his junior, would be third wife

05 March, 17:12
'Berlusconi to wed on Ischia in June' (ANSA) - Naples, March 5 - Silvio Berlusconi will marry his fianceé Francesca Pascale on Ischia in June, Naples newspaper Il Golfo reported Wednesday.

It would be the third trip to the altar for the media magnate who has dominated Italian politics for the last 20 years despite constant legal woes and sex scandals. Three-time premier and centre-right opposition leader Berlusconi, 77, got engaged to Naples-born Pascale, 28, two months ahead of the February 2013 general election.

Announcing the engagement in mid-December, he said Pascale was "a beautiful girl on the outside but even more beautiful inside".

The media said it was a bid to persuade conservative voters he had abandoned the playboy lifestyle that landed him in hot water and led to a conviction for paying an underage prostitute and dancer whose stage name was Ruby the Heartstealer for sex.

Pascale, a former shop assistant from Naples, served as a provincial councillor in Berlusconi's now-defunct People of Freedom (PdL) party before stepping down in July 2012 to devote herself fully to her 'Silvio, we miss you' club. Wedding planners have already visited the famed Naples Bay island to set up the ceremony for Berlusconi, now back at centre stage with his revived Forza Italia (FI) Party, and Pascale, who has supplanted the ex-premier's female entourage and is styling herself as first-lady-in-waiting, Il Golfo said.

Berlusconi and Pascale are regulars on Italian TV and in Berlusconi-owned gossip mags where they project a cosy image of a besotted couple, often petting their dog, Dudù, who has become a celebrity in his own right.

Il Golfo said FI's chief in the region around Naples, Campania, has been contacted to officiate at the wedding.

But Senator Domenico De Siano denied this Wednesday.

"It's a load of nonsense," he told ANSA.

Il Golfo said Pascale's friendship with the FI Senator led to the Ischia choice after Naples itself, as well as Rome and Berlusconi's hometown Milan had been ruled out.

The newspaper cited "sources close to Pascale" but the media magnate's girlfriend has yet to comment.

She has previously said the three most important things in her life are her family, politics and Berlusconi, whose divorce to second wife Veronica Lario was finalised last month, three years after she left him when he attended the 18th birthday party of an aspiring starlet in Naples, accusing him of consorting with minors.

Pascale is said to be jealous of the other women in his inner circle, including Mara Carfagna, a former glamour model whom he appointed equal opportunities minister during his last term as premier.

Berlusconi has been married twice and has five children. In 1965, he married Carla Dall'Oglio, and they had two children, Pier Silvio and Marina, both now top executives in his TV and publishing group.

Berlusconi had three younger children with Lario, 57, whose main claim to fame before her marriage was a scantily clad appearance in a cult film by Italian goremeister Dario Argento.

They are Barbara Berlusconi, 30, a director at his AC Milan soccer club; and two also being groomed for a place in his media empire, Eleonora, 28, and Luigi, 26. He married her in 1990 after being smitten several years previously when he saw her perform topless in a Milan play about a philandering husband called The Magnificent Cuckold.

Lario, who was born Miriam Raffaela Bartolini, completed her divorce from Berlusconi on February 17 after keeping out of the limelight since denouncing her then husband's eye for the girls in 2009, claiming "maidens are being fed to the dragon".

The completion of the divorce will not end a dispute over Berlusconi's alimony payments to Lario, who has been romantically linked to centre-left Last year the ex-premier managed to get her monthly alimony reduced to 1.4 million euros from a previous award of three million per month set in December 2012, but the case has not been definitively resolved.

Over the years, Berlusconi has been linked with a string of glamorous young women, including models, actors, showgirls and prostitutes who attended his notorious 'bunga bunga' alleged sex parties at his mansions.

The centre-right leader is appealing a seven-year term and life ban from office for paying Moroccan exotic dancer Karima el-Mahroug for sex when she was 17, a year under the legal age for prostitution, and using his office to cover it up. In July 2012 the former premier was forced to deny allegations by a model who claimed that she was pregnant with his sixth child.

Sabina Began - who earned her nickname 'Queen Bee' for her alleged lead role in the supposed bunga bunga parties - claimed she was expecting the controversial politician's baby but has since lost it. The 38-year-old German model and actress said she was sure it was his child as she had 'only slept with him'.

Since Berlusconi dissolved the PdL and reanimated FI after failing to unsaddle Italy's last premier, Enrico Letta, Marina has repeatedly denied ambitions to take the helm of the reanimated party from her father, who is banned from office because of a tax-fraud conviction, his first definitive one.

Marina, head of Italy's biggest publishing house, Mondadori, said others were more qualified to eventually take over the job from her father, who is steering the opposition to Premier Matteo Renzi from outside parliament.