No sex on the campaign trail

Italy's P.M. straps on a chastity belt for reasons unclear.

Published January 30, 2006 11:11PM (EST)

In a show of political absurdity, Italy's conservative prime minister, singer of love songs and media magnate, Silvio Berlusconi, has pledged not to have sex until the country's April 9 elections.

"I'll try not to let you down," the self-professed ladies man told a television preacher at a rally. "I promise you two-and-a-half months of complete sexual abstinence."

What this has to do with fighting corruption, strengthening the economy and answering to a country weary of war, I have no idea. But for Berlusconi -- the notoriously sexist, antigay, pro-war minister -- its about being "pure." Christian conservatives, who (surprise) make up a large part of his base, applauded his oath and thanked him for opposing gay marriage and upholding family values.

Whatever Berlusconi is hoping to score by not scoring, lets hope the Italian masses see through this strange stragegy and give him the boot.

By Sarah Goldstein

Sarah Goldstein is an editorial fellow at Salon.

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