December 15, 2009

[efoods]Italians asked on Monday if an ugly assault on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was prompted by a “climate of hatred” splitting their nation and commentators said a wave of sympathy looked set to boost his political fortunes.

Berlusconi was admitted to hospital on Sunday with broken teeth, a fractured nose and a scarred face after a man with a history of mental problems threw a statuette of Milan cathedral at him as he signed autographs after a political rally.

A medical bulletin said on Monday there were no big worries about Berlusconi’s condition but he would stay in hospital at least until Tuesday because he was complaining about sharp pains in the head and face and had lost about a liter of blood.

His doctor, Alberto Zangrillo, said on state television Berlusconi would not return to work for 10 days.

Some commentators said the attack would help Berlusconi, whose high ratings have been hit by accusations of corruption and sex scandals. They said a “sympathy factor” was likely to boost his popularity, and that the attack would strengthen his position in his sometimes fractious center-right coalition.

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