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Monday, 11 June, 2001, 22:07 GMT 23:07 UK
Key figures in the Italian Government
Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini, right, with Reforms and Devolution Minister Umberto Bossi
Fini, right, and Bossi are two far-right members
The right-wing cabinet of Silvio Berlusconi includes some of the country's most controversial politicians.

Following are six of the major players in Italy:

Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister

The 64-year-old media baron is one of the world's richest men. He controls three private television networks and has stakes in publishing, advertising, insurance, banking, retail and real estate. He also owns the AC Milan football team.

Mr Berlusconi entered Italian politics in 1994 and immediately won elections with his newly established Forza Italia party.

Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini, National Alliance

Mr Fini, 46, transformed Italy's far right Social Movement into a more moderate but still very nationalistic National Alliance.

He is also, however, known for his public gaffes, including one occasion, when he described Benito Mussolini as "the greatest statesman of the century".

Foreign Minister Renato Ruggiero, Independent

Mr Ruggiero, 71, served as chief of the World Trade Organisation, as well as diplomat, cabinet minister and corporate executive.

He has stressed the importance of the Nato alliance, US-Italy ties and Italy's relations with Europe.

Minister for Reforms and Devolution Umberto Bossi, Northern League

Mr Bossi's Northern League party once advocated secession for Italy's affluent north. It was he who brought down Berlusconi's 1994 government after seven months, by withdrawing his support.

Mr Bossi, 59, has often expressed xenophobic views and harsh criticism of his allies as well as his opponents.

Defence Minister Antonio Martino, Forza Italia

Italian Defence Minister Antonio Martino
Martino: Euro-sceptic?
Mr Martino, 58, is a leader of Forza Italia's liberal faction, who served as Mr Berlusconi's foreign minister in 1994.

He was then viewed as a Eurosceptic, despite the fact that his father, Gaetano Martino, was the Italian foreign minister who signed the Treaty of Rome, which set up what is now the European Union in 1957.

Economics Minister Giulio Tremonti, Forza Italia

Mr Tremonti, 53, is a former economics advisor to Mr Berlusconi, who served previously as finance minister. He will now preside over a ministry that includes both the treasury and finance wings.


Key stories

Key players

Background

The campaign

INTERACTIVE GUIDE

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See also:

15 May 01 | Europe
14 May 01 | Europe
11 May 01 | Media reports
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