Silvio Berlusconi ); born 29 September 1936), also known as Il Cavaliere (literally, The Knight) – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the controlling shareholder of Mediaset and owner of A.C. Milan.
Berlusconi is the longest-serving post-war Prime Minister of Italy, and third longest-serving since Italy's unification, after Benito Mussolini and Giovanni Giolitti, holding three separate terms. Technically, he has been sworn in four times because after a cabinet reshuffle, as happened with Berlusconi in 2005, the new ministry is sworn in and subjected to a vote of confidence. He is the leader of the People of Freedom political movement, a centre-right party he founded in 2009. From November 2009 to November 2011, he was the longest-serving leader of a G8 country. As of 2011, Forbes magazine has ranked him as the 118th richest man in the world with a net worth of US$6.2 billion.
Berlusconi's political rise was rapid and surrounded by some controversy. He was elected as a Member of the Chamber of Deputies for the first time and appointed as Prime Minister following the March 1994 parliamentary elections, when Forza Italia gained a relative majority a mere three months after having been officially launched. However, his cabinet collapsed after nine months, due to internal disagreements in his coalition. In the April 1996 snap parliamentary elections, Berlusconi was defeated by the centre-left candidate Romano Prodi. In the May 2001 parliamentary elections, he was again the centre-right candidate for Prime Minister and won against the centre-left candidate Francesco Rutelli. Berlusconi then formed his second and third cabinets, until 2006.
Berlusconi was leader of the centre-right coalition in the April 2006 parliamentary elections, which he lost by a very narrow margin, his opponent again being Romano Prodi. He was re-elected in the parliamentary elections of April 2008 following the collapse of Prodi's government and sworn in for a third time as Prime Minister on 8 May 2008.