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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 December, 2004, 17:42 GMT
Berlusconi happy about new hair
Silvio Berlusconi
Berlusconi plans to lead the centre-right into the 2006 elections
Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says he feels 25 years younger after having a hair transplant.

The Italian media had been speculating about his hair since August, when he appeared in a pirate-style bandana.

Recommending cosmetic surgery, Mr Berlusconi, 68, said his implanted hair had been growing marvellously.

"I am very happy to have subjected myself to such pain," he told reporters. A year ago he also had cosmetic surgery around his eyes.

"I think this should be regarded as an example ... I now feel 40-42 years old in all aspects of my life," said the billionaire leader, who was recently cleared of serious corruption allegations.

'Showing people respect'

In August, he surprised reporters by wearing a white pirate-style bandana on a stroll with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, whom he hosted at his villa in Sardinia.

Silvio Berlusconi with white bandana
Berlusconi kept Italy guessing when he sported a white bandana

Mr Berlusconi on Thursday extolled the virtues of cosmetic surgery.

"It is a way of showing respect to those who share your life, your family. It is a way of showing respect to those who expect you to represent them on an international and national stage," he told reporters.

Mr Berlusconi had cosmetic surgery around his eyes during the Christmas holidays last year. He confirmed it a month later.

He also disappeared from public view several times during 2004, emerging afterwards with a new look.

New spring in Berlusconi's step
15 Dec 04 |  Europe
Berlusconi bandana hides mystery
20 Aug 04 |  Politics
Silvio Berlusconi 'has eye job'
15 Jan 04 |  Europe


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