(born 29 September 1936)
is an Italian politician, the current Prime Minister of Italy as well as a billionaire entrepreneur. He is the second longest-serving Prime Minister of Italy, a position he has held on three separate occasions: from 1994 to 1995, from 2001 to 2006 and currently since 2008. He is the leader of the People of Freedom political movement, a centre-right party he founded in 2009. As of November 2009, he is the longest-serving current leader of a G8 country.
Berlusconi's political rise was rapid and surrounded by controversy. He was elected as a Member of Parliament for the first time and appointed as Prime Minister following the March 1994 snap parliamentary elections, when Forza Italia gained a relative majority a mere three months after having been officially launched. However, his cabinet collapsed after seven months, due to internal disagreements in his coalition. In the April 1996 snap parliamentary elections, Berlusconi ran for Prime Minister again but was defeated by centre-left candidate Romano Prodi. In the May 2001 parliamentary elections, he was again the centre-right candidate for Prime Minister and won against the centre-left candidate Francesco Rutelli. Berlusconi then formed his second and third cabinets, until 2006.
Berlusconi was leader of the centre-right coalition in the April 2006 parliamentary elections, which he lost by a very narrow margin, his opponent again being Romano Prodi. He was re-elected in the parliamentary elections of April 2008 following the collapse, on 24 January 2008, of Romano Prodi's government and sworn in as prime minister on 8 May 2008 (see also 2008 Italian political crisis).