Berlusconi sworn in as prime minister

Berlusconi sworn in as prime minister
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Silvio Berlusconi has been sworn in as Italy’s prime minister for the fourth time in his political career.

The members of his government have also taken their oaths of office.

The new cabinet is one of the most right-wing since World War II. It is stacked with Berlusconi’s allies from the National Alliance and the Northern League.

Berlusconi has pledged to fight crime, crack down on illegal immigration, and clear up the rubbish collection problem which has left refuse festering in Naples.

Italy’s new ministers include the Northern League leader Umberto Bossi, who is in charge of institutional reform.

League members also hold the interior ministry and agriculture portfolios.

The foreign minister is Franco Frattini, who takes a tough stance on illegal immigration and favours close relations with the US and Israel.

Only four of the 21 cabinet members are women. One will be the minister for education and another takes on the environment portfolio. A third will be in charge of youth affairs.

The new minister for equal opportunities is former TV showgirl Mara Carfagna.

Berlusconi once famously said he would marry her if he were single

After his honeymoon period as prime minister, he will need more than a playboy image to face the political challenges ahead.

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