Berlusconi announces political bid

MILAN — Media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, one of Italy’s richest men, announced Wednesday he was entering politics at the head of a “freedom crusade” to try to defeat the left in a watershed general election in March.

“An alliance for liberty is indispensable to oppose the leftist cartel,” Berlusconi, 57, said in a specially recorded statement broadcast on his Channel 4 television network.

He said he was putting himself at the head of Forza Italia (Go Italy), a conservative political pressure group he founded with a title borrowed from the country’s soccer stadiums.

Berlusconi, who had been flirting with politics for weeks, said he was driven into the fray by what he called the center-right’s failure to organize a convincing electoral coalition.

“I have decided to enter politics because I do not want to live in a country … governed by men tied to past political and economic failure,” he said.

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