1996: The slick-suited star comes down to Earth
Berlusconi's center-right coalition lost to a center-left alliance led by Romano Prodi during general elections in April as media reports questioned the staying power of the media tycoon and his Forza Italia party. Agence France Presse called Berlusconi "Italy's political shooting star of the 1990s" and analysts concluded that Italian politics had lurched decisively to the left. While Berlusconi "slid into the Prime Minister's chair" in 1994 by "dazzling voters with his slick suits and seamless patter," Australia's The Age explained, he had since been "soiled by corruption charges and a backlog of acrimony that even his champion soccer club, AC Milan, cannot dispel."
Above, Berlusconi holds a press conference in July 1998 after a Milan court convicted him of illegal party financing and sentenced him to over two years in prison. Berlusconi was later cleared by an appeals court after the statute of limitations on the accusations expired.
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