Expats poll could ally Berlusconi and Turner

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The Independent Online

Two of the world's wealthiest media moguls will find themselves in a de facto political alliance if Angela della Costanza Turner wins a seat in the Italian general election.

Ms Costanza Turner is the daughter-in-law of Ted Turner, billionaire founder of CNN. In Italy's first experiment in giving seats in parliament to expatriates, she is one of 38 candidates fighting to represent the 350,000 Italian nationals in the US on behalf of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party.

The American and Italian paperoni (super-rich) have plenty in common, including vast media empires, a portfolio of properties and an addiction to the limelight. Ms Costanza Turner is the type of classy blonde one can imagine Mr Berlusconi wishing to put swiftly on the front bench. A 37-year-old architect, she grew up in Genoa and moved to Atlanta 15 years ago. She is running for the North and Central America district in the Italian general election, in which six seats in the Senate and 12 in the Chamber of Deputies will be reserved.

If she wins she has no intention of becoming mere lobby fodder for the party boss. "If I set foot in Rome, it's with the intention of making all those Italians who talk understand the importance of Italians living abroad," she said.

The expats initiative was led by Mirko Tremaglia, 79, the oldest member of Mr Berlusconi's government. He was last in the headlines for making a vulgar crack about gays when Rocco Buttiglione was rejected as European commissioner over his view of homosexuality as a sin.