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Last Updated: Friday, 22 July, 2005, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Italy PM prints books of insults
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Mr Berlusconi says many of the attacks against him are personal
Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi has published a book of insults thrown at him by the left-wing opposition.

Berlusconi ti odio (I hate you Berlusconi) is an apparent attempt by the PM to show his critics in a bad light, correspondents say.

The 500 entries include megalomaniac, extremist, bandit and drunken hooligan.

He has also been nicknamed "Premier Pinocchio" after the wooden puppet character whose nose grows longer each time he tells a lie.

"The idea was inspired by Berlusconi himself, who has lamented personal attacks against him," said author Luca d'Alessandro, head of press for Mr Berlusconi's Forza Italia party.

Election strategy

Mr Berlusconi has been described as "mad and anthropologically different from the rest of the human race" by opposition lawmaker Giuseppe Giulietti.

Another left-wing politician, Antonio Di Pietro, said "Berlusconi is like Aids: If you know him, you avoid him".

Yet, according to political analyst Franco Pavoncello of Rome's John Cabot university, the book merely marks another twist in the prime minister's election campaign.

"He has been the most insulted prime minister since Mussolini," he told the BBC.

"It is simply the latest attempt to show he has been demonised - to show they are out to get him."

Correspondents say Mr Berlusconi is famed for his own gaffes and inappropriate remarks, often brushed off as banter.

Mr Pavoncello says that although the book will probably not be widely read by the general public, it will generate media interest.

"It won't change anyone's mind," he said, "But one thing you can't accuse him of is not being a sophisticated media manager".

The book has been published by part of Mr Berlusconi's media empire.

Country profile: Italy
24 Apr 05 |  Country profiles

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