Nov. 16 - Amid reports that his party was splitting in two, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi receives a unanimous vote to rebrand People of Freedom (PDL) as Forza Italia. Nathan Frandino reports.
Despite the troubles of his past, Italy's former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, still has his fans -- both in public and in politics. With enough support in his own party, he is rebranding the People of Freedom group (PDL) into Forza Italia, the name of his original political movement (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) CENTER-RIGHT LEADER SILVIO BERLUSCONI SAYING: "Why Forza Italia? Because we are incurable optimists and we are going to try again! (PART COVERED BY AUDIENCE RISING FOR STANDING OVATION) We want a new spring for Forza Italia. We want the resurrection of a name in our hearts." At his party's congress on Saturday, he spoke for over one and a half hours. At one point, he became so emotional that his personal physician hurried onstage with a drink for him. A fellow party member then called for the votes. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) PDL MP RENATO BRUNETTA, SAYING: "And finally, whoever is in favour raise their cards... We have a unanimous vote of those present, the document is approved, Long Live Forza Italia!" The rebranding comes after a defection of a group led by a former secretary of the People of Freedom party. That group defied Berlusconi and formed a separate party that has pledged to remain in the government.