Italy's Berlusconi joins TikTok to woo young voters

Italian politicians embrace TikTok during election campaign.

Silvio Berlusconi, the 85-year-old leader of Italy's centre-right Forza Italia party and former Italian premier, made his debut on TikTok on Thursday ahead of the country's general election on 25 September.

The Tiktok launch by the billionaire media mogul comes as a growing number of Italian politicians attempt to woo younger voters on the mini-video social network.

Admitting that he was a "little jealous" of the youthfulness of most TikTok users, Berlusconi said he would use the platform to "talk about the issues that are most dear to Forza Italia and to myself and those concern you closely: we will talk and discuss your future."

Berlusconi's arrival on TikTok coincided with the launch on the social media platform by former premier and leader of the centrist Italia Viva party, Matteo Renzi, who acknowledged that most tiktokers would know him for his "First reaction, Shock!" or "Shish" videos.

Last week Carlo Calenda, the leader of the small centrist party Azione, also made the move to TikTok. "I can't dance, I look like a drunk bear. I can't give make-up advice because I have a belly and I'm ugly" - Calenda warned - "But I can talk to you about politics, books, culture."

Other Italian political leaders active on TikTok include Giuseppe Conte, of the populist MoVimento 5 Stelle, and Giorgia Meloni, of the far-right Fratelli d'Italia, who is tipped to become Italy's next prime minister.

The most followed political leader in Italy on TikTok however is Matteo Salvini, of the right-wing Lega party, who has more than half a million followers.

Enrico Letta, the leader of the centre-left Partito Democratico who made headlines last week over his ironic tweet about guanciale, is not on TikTok. For now.

This article was originally published on Sunday 28 August but was updated on Thursday 1 September.