Media mogul Silvio Berlusconi jumped into politics a quarter-century ago vowing to save Italy from the communists. Now he’s waging a crusade to keep Italian populists out of the government.

The 81-year-old cannot seek his fourth premiership or even run for a seat in Parliament in Italy’s March 4 election due to a tax fraud conviction.

But he won’t let himself be stopped by that – nor by years of sex scandals or a long list of criminal trials. Berlusconi is out to foil the 5-Star Movement in its goal to enter national government for the first time. He’s wooing Italians to vote instead for his center-right Forza Italia party, which he created in the early 1990s with the aim of keeping Italy’s communists from gaining power.

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