Key events in Berlusconi's political career

AP News
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Posted: Nov 08, 2011 4:48 PM
Key events in Berlusconi's political career

Key events in Premier Silvio Berlusconi's political career.

_ January 1994. Media mogul Silvio Berlusconi creates the Forza Italia party, jumping into politics after anti-corruption probes bring down an entire political class, including close friend Socialist leader Bettino Craxi.

_ March 28, 1994. Teaming with anti-immigrant ally Umberto Bossi in a center-right coalition, he wins parliamentary elections, becoming premier a month later.

_ Nov. 23, 1994. Offers to sell his three TV networks after prosecutors notify him they are investigating if his Fininvest conglomerate bribed tax inspectors.

_ Dec. 22, 1994. Bossi yanks his party out of the coalition, forcing Berlusconi's resignation.

_ April 21, 1996. Loses parliamentary elections to a center-left coalition led by Romano Prodi. Remains head of the opposition while fighting judicial probes into his business empire.

_ May 13, 2001. Wins national elections after pledging to cut taxes, create jobs and improve the country's infrastructure. Over the next five years leads Italy's longest-serving government since World War II.

_ Sept. 26, 2001. Says Western civilization is superior to Islam _ breaking ranks with the United States and other allies trying to reach out to the Muslim world after the Sept. 11 attacks. Eventually apologizes.

_ Nov. 2001. Sends an Italian contingent to Afghanistan to help in reconstruction efforts after the U.S.-led invasion.

_ 2003: As a close ally of U.S. President Bush, backs war in Iraq and sends Italian troops after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, despite massive protests at home.

_ April 2005. Briefly resigns to reshuffle government after crushing defeat in regional elections.

_ April 10, 2006. Loses election to Prodi in one of Italy's closest votes. Refusing to concede defeat, alleges irregularities.

_ Dec. 18, 2006. Has heart surgery to install pacemaker at Cleveland Clinic three weeks after he collapses while delivering a speech at a rally in Tuscany.

_April 14, 2008. Scores decisive victory over center-left leader Walter Veltroni in parliamentary elections to win a third term as premier.

_ May 3, 2009. Veronica Lario says she is seeking divorce after 19 years of marriage and three children. Angered that he proposed TV showgirls as European Parliament candidates, she cites his infatuation with young women.

_July 2009. Hosts G-8 summit in L'Aquila after moving venue from Rome to show solidarity with earthquake-struck town.

_Sept. 10, 2009. Dismisses suggestions he might resign over sex scandal after self-described call girl claims she tape-recorded premier during night she says she spent at his Rome residence.

_ Dec. 13, 2009. Injured in face when man hurls statuette at end of political rally in Milan.

_ July 30, 2010. Ousts longtime coalition ally, Gianfranco Fini, after months of nasty squabbling.

_ Dec. 14, 2010. Wins back-to-back confidence votes in Parliament, but razor-thin outcome in lower chamber will make governing difficult.

-Feb. 15, 2011. Indicted by a Milan court on charges he paid an underage girl for sex and used his office to try to cover it up.

- Nov. 8, 2011. Tells Italian president he will resign after parliament passes key economic reforms demanded by European Union. Move follows loss of his parliamentary majority on a routine vote.