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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 January, 2004, 22:29 GMT
Berlusconi admits plastic surgery
Italian papers scrutinised the prime minister's new look (picture: La Repubblica)

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has admitted to having plastic surgery.

There had been intense speculation in the past few weeks after Mr Berlusconi disappeared from public view and cancelled several engagements.

Mr Berlusconi said that he only had surgery performed around his eyes and that he was in excellent health.

The 67-year-old leader had previously admitted only to have had a "service" and to have lost weight.

'Retouch'

Last week Italian newspapers splashed pictures of the prime minister across their front pages - most of them convinced that he had undergone a nip and tuck.

Media rumours said he was operated on in Switzerland on 28 December by a Californian plastic surgeon and had undergone surgery on his face and neck.

However Mr Berlusconi denied that the surgery had been so extensive.

"I only had my eyelids retouched slightly," he told a press conference.

"They wrote that seven doctors operated on me but there was only one.

"If you want I can give you his name."

New image?

The Italian media has expressed conflicting opinions over Mr Berlusconi's new look.

The Il Foglio newspaper referred to the Italian premier disparagingly as looking "half-way between Boris Karloff and a baby".

However the Corriere della Sera newspaper was more impressed.

"How the wrinkles have disappeared," it wrote.

"How his face which up to a month ago appeared rounder, has lost weight."

The newspaper suggested the new image was intended to mark the 10th anniversary of Mr Berlusconi's Forza Italia party over the weekend.

"The cavalier has given himself a present of a face that dominated election rallies 10 years ago," it said.




SEE ALSO:
Silvio Berlusconi 'has eye job'
15 Jan 04  |  Europe


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