Italy: Berlusconi gets fit for election campaign

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was forced to quit over rising debt and a sex scandal.

Rome: Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was forced to quit over rising debt and a sex scandal, has taken to jogging and studying issues in preparation for a fresh run for the premiership, AKI news agency reported.

The 75-year-old three-time prime minister was spotted recently jogging in a park in Rome, probably in a bid to get fit for an election campaign that will culminate in national elections in 2013.

Italian news reports said the billionaire media tycoon will run unopposed for the candidacy of his People of Freedom Party.

The party will also change its name, and its symbol will be a kite in the colours of the Italian flag -- green, white and red.

Berlusconi cut short his third election mandate in November when he resigned amid an out-of-control debt crisis which raised the possibility of Italy defaulting on its EUR 1.9 trillion debt load.

Experts says such a move would have threatened the future of the 17-member euro currency.

Berlusconi`s critics say he did very little to reform Italy`s finances and focused instead on policies that would help him stay out of legal trouble. But he has a wide support from a political base that sees him as a business-friendly alternative to leftists.