Postcard from... Rome


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The Independent Online

Supporters of Silvio  Berlusconi in Rome hope to entice pensioners to back the beleaguered mogul by offering them a 50 per cent discount on false teeth.

The former premier, who is banned from parliament following a definitive tax fraud conviction, has always denied that his campaigns and  propaganda have been  cynically tailored for old and parsimonious voters.

But first came reports of poor pensioners being bussed up from Calabria and paid €10 a time to shout their support at the mogul’s political rallies

And now comes news that Berlusconi’s Forza Silvio fan club in Rome is offering cut-price dentures to pensioners who sign up for membership. Club president Vincenzo Leli dreamed up the idea.

The new gimmick to revive the fortunes of Berlusconi’s ailing right-wing political party comes just days after the mogul declared that a new scheme to sponsor homeless cats and dogs could prove a vote winner in the upcoming European Elections.

Mr Leli, who was also involved in that initiative, denied the new denture  promotion was an attempt at buying votes.

“Absolutely not,” he told the Italian press. “It’s just an attempt to help people in  our area.”