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Tuesday, 15 May, 2001, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Berlusconi's big plans
Silvio Berlusconi
Berlusconi: Short on details
Silvio Berlusconi's election campaign was fought largely on the basis of his personality and business record, but he has made pledges to cut taxes, curb immigration, and carry out wholesale reform of the creaking state bureacracy.

Initial targets
Eliminate death duties and tax on donations
School reform
New system of public works tenders
More police
He has set out a programme of boosting the economy with massive tax cuts which he says will create up to 1.5m new jobs within five years.

Little mention has been made of how the tax cuts will be funded, and he has said little about his public spending plans.

In his first television address after being elected, he again pledged to modernise the state and its institutions, to improve the country's infrastructure and roads, and boost the poorer south.

Berlusconi and his five-point contract
Tycoon with his five-point contract
His first wave of policies, he said, would cut death duties, reform schools, boost local police numbers and introduce a new system of tendering for public works.

Earlier, on the eve of election day, Mr Berlusconi published what he called his "Contract with Italy", and said he would not seek office again if at the end of five years he had not carried out at least four of his five main promises to voters:

  • Reorganisation of the state bureaucracy, including online access to all government departments by the ordinary citizen
  • Constitutional reform
  • Revision and simplification of administrative and tax law and of civil and criminal codes
  • Ten-year plan for public works
  • Development plan for the south

Well before the election, every family in Italy had received a glossy edition of Mr Berlusconi's biography, proving just how successful his political and business career has been so far.

Olivetti headquarters
Berlusconi predicts 1.5m new jobs within five years
But this had been short on details of exactly how he proposes to implement his promises.

Switching his once-favoured football metaphors for the language of business, tycoon Mr Berlusconi has promised to run the country as if it were "Italy Inc".

A written manifesto from Mr Berlusconi dated May 7 - six days before polling day - ran to more than 80 pages, and set out a five-year vision for transforming Italy.

Among the promises are

  • sweeping tax cuts taking income tax down to 23% rates for incomes below 200m lire (66,000)
  • a flat income tax rate of 33% for higher earners
  • no income tax on families earning under 22m lire (7,260)
  • a minimum monthly state pension of 300
  • the scrapping of tax on new members of staff
  • tax exemption on reinvested profits

The last two pledges, known as the Tremonti law, were introduced in 1994 - boosting Mr Berlusconi's empire by more than 70m.

Other pledges are made to introduce a system of health bonds, which can be cashed in at public or private institutions; and public financing for church schools.

On immigration - one of the key campaign issues - there are pledges to toughen Italy's notoriously-leaky system.

Berlusconi's 'cultural pillars'
the family
Italy's Western and European vocations
Only immigrants with a job would be allowed to remain in the country, and a fingerprint data bank would be created to identify illegal migrants.

Mr Berlusconi is also thought likely to build stronger links with US President George W Bush.

He claims close relations with Spanish centre-right Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, although he is under criminal investigation in Spain for financial irregularities in connection with his Telecinco TV holdings there.

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11 May 01 | Media reports
'Life is not beautiful' if Berlusconi wins
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