ROME — Silvio Berlusconi’s popularity is sliding in Italy, where a sex scandal has affected the media mogul and prime minister’s results in the European Union election.
Berlusconi’s conservative Freedom Party won 35% of Italy’s European Parliament vote over the weekend, less than the 40% predicted by the mogul, who controls Italian commercial broadcaster Mediaset. The result, however, does not undermine the stability of his government.
There was no immediate comment from Berlusconi, who has been under increasing media scrutiny over allegations that he is having a relationship with 18-year-old model and aspiring TV starlet Noemi Letizia.
The 72-year-old Berlusconi has denied the allegations, which snowballed after his wife, former actress Veronia Lario, filed for divorce.
Berlusconi, who will meet with President Obama on June 15 at the White House, is taking legal action against Spain’s El Pais newspaper after it published photos showing topless girls and other naked guests at his Sardinian villa. Shots had been banned for publication in Italy.