Stefano Montesi | Corbis | Corbis | Getty Images
Silvio Berlusconi appears as a guest on the talk show ”L’aria che tira’ television channel La7 on January 18, 2018 in Rome, Italy.
Silvio Berlusconi has been prime minister of Italy three times.
Despite a series of sex scandals and tax fraud convictions, the 81-year-old media mogul is once again at the center stage of Italian politics and could have a pivotal role in the upcoming general election.
CNBC asked analysts what’s the secret of Berlusconi’s popularity.
“The key point about Silvio Berlusconi, in my opinion, is the continued ability to differentiate himself clearly from competitors in Italian politics, despite being himself a politician for almost three decades and one with a debatable track record,” Francesco Filia, chief executive officer at Fasanara Capital, told CNBC via email.
Berlusconi was appointed prime minister in 1994, 2001 and 2008. With a degree in law, his professional life started very much as a businessman. Prior to becoming prime minister, he founded a real estate firm, launched TV networks, bought department stores and even a soccer club — AC Milan.
“As a self-made man, a great salesperson, a man of business and a billionaire, he has no match in the political landscape in Italy,” Filia said, highlighting that this is not to express any political opinion, but rather to address what the roots of his traction might be.