People

Berlusconi to quit

Silvio Berlusconi announced his resignation today (8 November) as his country continues to fight the effects of the European economic crisis. The premier tendered his resignation after losing the parliamentary majority in a key confidence vote and will quit within weeks. The Italian PM had faced extreme pressure from the EU amid fears that Italy will be the next victim of the eurozone debt fiasco. As Berlusconi's future in an official capacity draws to a close, we take a look at his 17-year reign in the Italian spotlight - and the many verbal blunders that have characterised it. Read on for pearls of wisdom from the self-professed "Jesus Christ of politics"...

Picture credits: Rex Features

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "Let's talk about football and women."

    To the then German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, at a summit in Brussels, 2003

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "One citizen is equal to another, in the eyes of the law, but perhaps this one is slightly more equal than the others, given that 50 percent of Italians have given him the responsibility of governing the country."

    Referring to himself during an appearance at a corruption trial in Milan, 2003

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "In Italy I am almost seen as German for my workaholism. Also I am from Milan, the city where people work the hardest. Work, work, work - I am almost German."

    2003

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "If I, taking care of everyone's interests, also take care of my own, you can't talk about a conflict of interest."

    On questions over his dual role as Prime Minister and also being one of Italy's biggest tycoons, 2003

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "Italy is now a great country to invest in ... today we have fewer Communists and those who are still there deny having been one. Another reason to invest in Italy is that we have beautiful secretaries... superb girls."

    During a visit to the New York Stock Exchange, 2003

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "Mussolini never killed anyone. Mussolini used to send people on vacation in internal exile."

    2003

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "I had to use all my playboy tactics, even if they have not been used for some time."

    Explaining how he persuaded Finland's president, Tarja Halonen, to give up her country's claim to host the new European Food Safety Authority, 2005

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "Parma is synonymous with good cuisine. The Finns don't even know what prosciutto is. I've been through the Finnish diet and I know what it means."

    On a proposal to base an EU food standards agency in Finland, rather than the Italian city of Parma, 2005

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I am a patient victim, I put up with everyone, I sacrifice myself for everyone."

    At the launch of his election campaign, 2006

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "Only Napoleon did more than I have done ... But I am definitely taller."

    2006

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "I am pretty often faithful."

    In response to accusations he is a playboy, 2006

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "I don't need to go into office for the power. I have houses all over the world, stupendous boats... beautiful airplanes, a beautiful wife, a beautiful family... I am making a sacrifice."

    2006

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "I will try to meet your expectations, and I promise from now on, two-and-a-half months of absolute sexual abstinence until (election day) 9 April."

    Promising to put family values at the centre of his campaign, 2006

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "I trust the intelligence of the Italian people too much to think that there are so many pricks around who would vote against their own best interests."

    Talking about left-wing voters during his election campaign, 2006

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "Ladies, I have a mission for you on election day: cook. Sweet and exquisite things, please. Bring them to the polling station. The boldest can try making a tart, the most skilful, profiteroles."

    A final plee to the female electorate, 2008

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "They're not gaffes. I've made no gaffes."

    2008

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "The left has no taste, even when it comes to women."

    One of his more vigorous political arguments, 2008

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "I deserve to be left in peace: enough violations of privacy."

    In the midst of a sex scandal involving his alleged dealings with underage girls and prostitutes, 2009

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "For those who love to conquer, the joy and the most beautiful satisfaction is in the conquest. If you have to pay, I ask you, what joy is there?"

    Denying claims that he pays for sex, 2009

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "We would need as many soldiers as there are beautiful girls in Italy — which we will never manage."

    In response to a proposal to increase the number of troops on the streets to prevent a wave of rapes, 2009

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "I have answered the only question that anyone has the right to ask me: 'Prime minister, have you had a, let's say, spicy, or more than spicy, relationship with an underage girl?' The response is: 'Absolutely not.'"

    On allegations he had an affair with an underage girl, 2009

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "I am not a saint, you've all understood that."

    Facing sex allegations in court, 2009

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "What's his name? Some tanned guy. Ah, Barack Obama! You won't believe it, but the two of them sunbathe together because the wife is also tanned."

    2009

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "In my opinion, and not only mine, I am the best prime minister we can find today."

    2009

  • Berlusconi's biggest gaffes

    "Better to be fond of beautiful girls than gay."

    2010