Silvio Berlusconi and Francesca Pascale

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The happy couple

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, 76, has announced that he is engaged to be married to a woman nearly 50 years his junior, Francesca Pascale.

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Perfect match

The couple were first pictured together recently while watching AC Milan, the Italian football club owned by the former PM

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Cake on it

Now, photos of Miss Pascale have emerged showing her early days as a Berlusconi supporter. In 2006, at the age of 20, she was already showing her appreciation for the media tycoon as president of a Berlusconi 'Fan Club'. She is also behind the "We miss you, Silvio" campaign backing Berlusconi's return to front-line politics.

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Poster girl

A former shop assistant, Miss Pascale served as a local councillor in Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom Party.

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In a weekend TV interview, Berlusconi said: "Little by little she worked in my political organisation, then close to me."

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Supporting each other

Berlusconi said he had turned his back on his infamous 'bunga bunga' parties. "I need to apologise," he said. "It was a period when I was feeling alone. I was divorced, my mother was dead, my sister, too, my children were travelling around the world, and someone said to distract myself with some evenings."

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Berlusconi is still fighting charges that he paid for sex with an under age prostitute, the then 17-year-old exotic dancer, Karima El-Mahroug, better known as "Ruby the Heart Stealer".



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Otherwise engaged

And he has yet to divorce his second wife, Veronica Lario, but that has not stopped him from announcing his latest engagement.

"She is 27 years old, with very solid values, beautiful on the outside and even more beautiful on the inside," he said.

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'Beautiful girl'

"She is very close to me, she loves me very much and I feel the same."