Center Right Italian Party Forza Italia urged voters to write Berlusconi or Silvio Berlusconi on the ballot vote on June 9th, even though former Italian and president of the party Berlusconi died a year ago(Photo by Ivan Romano/Getty Images)


Forza Italia ‘resurrects’ Silvio Berlusconi ahead of European Parliament elections


Centre-right Italian party Forza Italia has urged voters to write “Berlusconi” or “Silvio Berlusconi” on their ballot papers for the European Parliament elections in June.

That is despite the former Italian prime minister and president of the party having died almost a year ago.

Forza Italia distributed a booklet to groups including regional party secretaries and MEP candidates with clear instructions on how to vote in Italy.

It has provided 16 different options for people to choose from, indicating whether their vote would be accepted or rejected.

The party insisted that Italians can still vote for Berlusconi in the June EP elections.

Forza Italia estimated the stunt would attract more voters – up to 100,000 – who were nostalgic about Berlusconi.

The party is aiming to take advantage of the so-called “Berlusconi effect”, according to Italian news outlet ll Fatto Quotidiano. 

This campaign strategy relies on Italian voting legislation being based on the “will of the voters”, it said.

Forza Italia said that it was possible to write “former founder of Forza Italia” or even “Berlusconi” as the head of the list and then choose two other candidates, a male and female.

According to party officials, such a vote would be valid as long as “the actual will of the voter can be inferred”.

In this case, the inclusion of the two other names “renders indisputable the elector’s wish to vote validly for the Forza Italia list”, they said.

The current Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni has used a similar strategy.

Earlier in May, during Fratelli d’Italia’s launch campaign in Pescara, Meloni urged voters to use her first name on their voting ballot. “Call me Georgia,” she said.

In Italy, people can vote for a candidate using well-known identified expressions such as nicknames or diminutives. What matters is the perceived will of the voter concerned.

According to the latest polls, Forza Italia’s leader Antonio Tajani is still behind Meloni’s party for the June EP elections.