Alexa

Berlusconi says he's campaigning "like a young man," dismisses suggestions of ailments

Berlusconi says he's campaigning "like a young man," dismisses suggestions of ailments

Conservative leader Silvio Berlusconi insisted Friday that he has been campaigning "like a young man" for April's elections, seeking to dismiss suggestions of health problems because he skipped a TV appearance.
The 71-year-old media mogul had heart surgery in late 2006, shortly after collapsing during a political rally. He has since led several rallies and appeared on TV shows. Later Friday, he was due to present his election platform in Rome.
Libero, a conservative newspaper close to Berlusconi, headlined its Friday editions with an appeal to Berlusconi to watch his health. It mentioned speculation of a mild drop in blood pressure and another unspecified minor ailment.
On Thursday night, Berlusconi skipped an appearance on the TG5 newscast on one of his TV channels, fueling speculation over his health.
"Yesterday I didn't appear on TG5 because I was busy writing the (election) program," Berlusconi said Friday morning, according to Italian news agencies ANSA and Apcom. "We worked until midnight."
"I've been working like a young man," Berlusconi said, branding the suggestions of health problems as "lies" and the result of "a disinformation campaign."
Going into the April 13-14 elections, opinion polls show Berlusconi steadily ahead of his main rival for the premiership, 52-year-old Walter Veltroni of the center-left Democratic Party.
Berlusconi said Friday that his program is a lean, 12-page platform that does not promise "miracles" given Italy's sluggish economy. He has vowed to resume public works that were put on hold by the outgoing center-left government as well as clean up the garbage that has piled up on the streets of Naples.
The elections are taking place three years ahead of schedule after the collapse of Premier Romano Prodi's center-left government, which lasted less than two years.