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Italy's playboy ex-premier Berlusconi: Defending women is 'priority'

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Rome (dpa) - Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, an octogenarian playboy who courted controversy with dalliances with underage girls, said Wednesday that women‘s rights have always been a priority for his centre-right coalition.

"For us, defending women is a priority and it has always been," the 81-year-old conservative politician said in an interview for his family‘s Mediaset TV network.

"Femicide is a plague for Italy, it is an [issue] that has always been in our minds," Berlusconi said.

In Italy "femicide" usually refers to the killing of women by their partners or former partners. There were 41 such cases in the first seven months of 2017, as well as more than 6,000 reports to police for stalking, according to Interior Ministry data.

Berlusconi accused the ruling centre-left government of having done "absolutely nothing" on the issue, and promised, as part of his campaign for next year‘s elections, to grant 1,000-euro (1,180 dollar) old age pensions to stay-at-home mothers.

In his scandal-prone career, Berlusconi has faced heavy criticism over his attitude towards women, for example when he tapped Mara Carfagna, a former showgirl and model, to serve as Equal Opportunities Minister in his 2008-11 government.

In 2009, his second wife Veronica Lario filed for divorce after a newspaper reported that Berlusconi had attended the 18th birthday party of a sometime lingerie model from near Naples, who reportedly called him "daddy."

In 2015, Berlusconi was cleared on appeal of soliciting sex from a 17-year-old prostitute, in the so-called "bunga bunga" affair. But he faces two new trials in 2018 on charges of bribing his defence witnesses.


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(18.12.2017 15:53)

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