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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 May 2006, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
In pictures: Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi in 2001 election

The billionaire tycoon turned politician became prime minister again in May 2001 - a post he had held in 1994-96.

Silvio Berlusconi at funeral of Italian servicemen killed in Iraq

In 2003 he faced stiff opposition at home over his support for the US-led war in Iraq.

Berlusconi is seen in this combination of two pictures taken in Brussels on 13 Dec 2003, left, and in Rome on 23 Jan 2004

Mr Berlusconi acknowledged in January 2004 that he had had cosmetic surgery, but said it was only under the eyes.

Berlusconi, sporting a print bandanna, with the Blairs on their arrival at his luxury villa, in Porto Rotondo on the Island-region of Sardinia.

He sported a bandanna during a visit by the Blairs to his luxury Sardinia villa in August 2004 - and later expressed joy over his hair transplant.

Silvio Berlusconi marks Forza Italia anniversary

In 2004 the party he founded - Forza Italia (Go Italy) - marked 10 years since its first victory.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and wife Lyudmila greet Mr Berlusconi and wife Veronica

He was not only a firm ally of the US - he also enjoyed a relaxing stay with the Putins on the Black Sea in August 2005.

Silvio Berlusconi shares joke with French President Jacques Chirac, March 2006

Franco-Italian trade tensions did not spoil Mr Berlusconi's fun with French President Jacques Chirac at an EU summit in Brussels in March 2006.

An electoral banner of the Margherita (left-wing coalition) shows Italian Prime minister and right-wing coalition leader Silvio Berlusconi like Pinocchio, in Rome 07 April 2006

During the 2006 election campaign the Left attacked his unfulfilled pledges to revive the economy.

Berlusconi casts his vote in the Italian election under the watchful eyes of his mother Rosa at a polling station in Milan, 2006

An election official chided him for showing his mother Rosa, 95, where to put a cross on the ballot paper.

Berlusconi (right) and former European Commission President Romano Prodi hold face-to-face debate on RAI television, 3 April 2006

He took a long time to admit defeat after his arch-rival Romano Prodi won the narrowest of victories. It followed an acrimonious campaign marked by insults.


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