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Italy Officials Undercut Plan of Berlusconi

<i> Reuters</i>

Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro and Umberto Bossi, a key partner in the governing coalition, have thrown cold water on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s efforts to distance himself from his vast business holdings.

Scalfaro said in a statement that while he appreciated Berlusconi’s plan, constitutional restraints would probably prevent him from helping guarantee its success.

He said he would wait to take a stand on Berlusconi’s proposal until a panel of jurists issued its report.

Bossi said the prime minister’s plan “didn’t stand up” and said his federalist Northern League would draft an alternative.

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The prime minister announced Friday that he would submit a bill under which Scalfaro, the two Speakers of Parliament and antitrust authorities would jointly appoint a committee to oversee Berlusconi’s firm, Fininvest, as long as Berlusconi remained in office.


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