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Insight: Italy came to brink before being saved by "King George"

By Barry Moody and Steve Scherer ROME (Reuters) - On Saturday April 20, the leaders of Italy's two biggest political forces climbed the Quirinal, highest of Rome's seven ancient hills, and begged President Giorgio Napolitano to stay for a second term. Pier Luigi Bersani and Silvio Berlusconi were followed into the presidential palace by outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti, Northern League boss Roberto Maroni and finally the governors of Italy's regions, in scenes that resembled schoolboys visiting the headmaster's office.

Insight: Italy came to brink before being saved by "King George"

By Barry Moody and Steve Scherer ROME (Reuters) - On Saturday April 20, the leaders of Italy's two biggest political forces climbed the Quirinal, highest of Rome's seven ancient hills, and begged President Giorgio Napolitano to stay for a second term. Pier Luigi Bersani and Silvio Berlusconi were followed into the presidential palace by outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti, Northern League boss Roberto Maroni and finally the governors of Italy's regions, in scenes that resembled schoolboys visiting the headmaster's office.

Italy's Letta names austerity critic Fassina as junior minister

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta named a leading critic of Europe's austerity programs as deputy economy minister, directly below the orthodox former Bank of Italy official chosen to head the ministry. The appointment of Stefano Fassina, who has called for Italy to re-negotiate budget targets agreed with the European Union, provides a figurehead for critics of fiscal rigor within government and parliament. But as one of two deputy economy ministers, it is unclear how much policymaking weight he will carry.

Italy's Andreotti, leading postwar politician, dead at 94

By Philip Pullella ROME (Reuters) - Giulio Andreotti, who served as Italian prime minister seven times and whose name was synonymous with political survival and cunning in the land that gave the world Machiavelli, died on Monday at the age of 94. Andreotti, who for more than half a century was known as "Mr Italy" because of the many offices he held, died at home, family sources said. He had suffered from respiratory problems for years and had been in hospital several times.

Seven-time Italian PM Giulio Andreotti dies at 94

Giulio Andreotti, a Machiavellian seven-time Italian prime minister who dominated the political scene for decades, died on Monday at the age of 94. Andreotti, a top figure in the once-dominant Christian Democratic party, died at his home in Rome. He had suffered ill health in recent years and was hospitalised last year with heart trouble. A private funeral will be held on Tuesday in Andreotti's local church for the staunchly pro-Catholic politician, who had close ties with the Vatican and was accused of links to the mafia.

Italy's Machiavellian ex-PM Andreotti dies aged 94

Giulio Andreotti, a Machiavellian seven-time Italian prime minister who dominated the political scene for decades, died on Monday at the age of 94. Andreotti, a key figure in the once-dominant Christian Democratic party, died at his home in central Rome. He had suffered ill health in recent years and was hospitalised in August last year with heart trouble. A private funeral will be held on Tuesday in Andreotti's local church for the staunchly pro-Catholic politician, who had close ties with the Vatican and was accused of shadowy links to the mafia and the Holy See.

Andreotti: Cunning power broker of Italian politics

Seven-time former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti, who died on Monday at the age of 94, was a cunning political power broker who presided over Italy's recovery after World War II and was accused of close ties with the mafia. A government minister for over three decades, Andreotti was involved through all the upheavals that rocked Italy from the war until his retirement from mainstream political life in 1992. A Machiavellian politician with close ties to the Vatican, Andreotti was known as much for his icy put-downs and aphorisms as his Realpolitik.

Former Italian PM Giulio Andreotti has died

Italy's Giulio Andreotti, a shadowy seven-time former prime minister who presided over the post-war political scene for decades, died Monday aged 94, Italian media reported. Andreotti, a key figure in the once-dominant Christian Democratic party, suffered from ill health in recent years and was hospitalised in August 2012 with heart trouble. dt/gd

Italy's Letta to juggle demands of EU and parties

Italy's new coalition government has been cheered by many at home and cautiously welcomed abroad, but faces challenges to its survival, from managing rivalry between the newly united right and left to funding growth-boosting measures. Summing up the widespread hope that Prime Minister Enrico Letta holds the keys to ending Italy's crisis, Ugo Magri wrote in La Stampa daily that the young and diplomatic premier had received "unanimously favourable" initial reactions. He is "a point of convergence for vast sectors of the political class and society", Magri said.

Italy shooting sparks fears of climate of tension

A shooting outside government headquarters in Rome has revived the spectre of political violence which rocked Italy in the 1970s, and sparked accusations of blame against a growing anti-establishment movement. On Sunday, a kilometre away from where the country's new cabinet was being sworn in, an unemployed man suffering from depression shot two policemen, leaving one in a critical state.
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