The Italian Almanac
Italian News - April 5
Italy's prime minister confessed yesterday that he had called sex chat lines - to talk politics not dirty. Silvio Berlusconi claimed to have been carrying out an opinion poll in the run-up to his country's election. His bizarre revelation came hours ahead of last night's second and final TV head-to head debate with his challenger Romano Prodi.
During a briefing with party workers, millionaire Berlusconi, 69, said he asked the women working on the sex lines what they thought of his policies and those of his 66-year-old rival. He said he made the calls during a sleepless night at his luxury villa in Sardinia. Berlusconi told party workers he was pleased with the women's response.
"Seven out of the nine young ladies I called said that they preferred me to Prodi, which is very good news indeed," he said. One stunned party worker said: "He was delighted that the women he spoke to were in favour of him. It certainly perked him up."
Yesterday, none of Prodi's election team would comment officially about the phone calls.