Berlusconi touts eldest daughter as perfect leader

ROME (AP) — Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said Sunday his eldest daughter would be a perfect leader — but hopes she won't go into politics.

Berlusconi is now banned from holding or running for public office because of his tax fraud conviction. The media mogul still leads the Forza Italia party he created two decades ago when he jumped into politics.

The ex-premier was asked during a state TV interview if Marina Berlusconi, 47, would be a perfect leader. He replied: "I think so, but I really hope that doesn't happen." He said the decision is up to her and voters, since "they are the ones who choose a leader." She has repeatedly denied political aspirations.

Forza Italia has been Italy's largest center-right political force. Its popularity has slipped in recent opinion polls ahead of this month's European Parliament election. The party is so heavily identified with its creator that it hasn't been able to groom a leader to someday replace the now 77-year-old Berlusconi.

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