An Italian politician, who was forced to pull out from the forthcoming general elections over claims that he padded out his resume with false academic qualifications, has now been accused of lying about his participation in a singing contest for children.

Oscar Giannino, 52, was forced to resign as leader of newly founded Fare Per Fermare il Declino (Stop the Decline) party, after he was discovered to have falsely claimed he earned a Master's degree at the University of Chicago School of Business.

As that scandal broke, Giannino, who had pledged to clean up politics in Italy, confessed he did not hold two other bachelor degrees - in law and economics - that he had earlier claimed either.

"I just gave a few law exams," he told La 7 television.

He has now been caught out a third time.

The longstanding presenter of a children's song festival, the Zecchino d'Oro, has come forward to deny Giannino's claim that he had once participated as a competitor.

"I've checked the name of all the kids that appeared on the show since 1961 in the programme's yearbook and there is no Oscar Giannino," Cino Tortorella aka Zurlì Wizard told Italian Radio 24.

Giannino, a prominent business journalist, wrote: "[I] sang at the Zecchino d'Oro, when it was an absolute landmark for all the children" in an article for Italian newpaper il Foglio in 2009, when the festival was facing closure.

The unravelling of Giannino's biography was spurred by party colleague Luigi Zingales who, as a professor at the Chicago School of Business, discovered Fare leader's Master's degree was fake.

Founded only at the end of December, Fare quickly gained popular support among businessmen, academics and young people with conservative and liberal ideals, who felt unrepresented by Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party (PDL) and let down by PM Mario Monti's austerity policies.

Giannino stepped down from his post as Fare leader but remains the party's official candidate for PM. Under Italy's electoral rules, it is not permissable to change contenders just a few days before the vote.