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Blow to Italian PM as justice minister resigns

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Blow to Italian PM as justice minister resigns


Saying he chose love of his family over love of power, Italy’s justice minister has stepped down, leaving Romano Prodi’s government in a potentially precarious position. Clemente Mastella resigned over an arrest order for his politician wife as part of a corruption investigation.

Mastella’s small Catholic party controls three seats in the upper house Senate, where Prodi’s majority is just two. If his Udeur group withdraws its support, Prodi’s government could fall.

Mastella’s wife, Sandra Lonardo, heads the council in the region of Campania. Mastella called the arrest warrant the latest in a series of attempts to discredit him.

The former conservative justice minister has often clashed with left-leaning allies and has even threatened to bring down the Prodi government in the past.

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