New government formed after coalition conflict

ROME — Silvio Berlusconi has formed a new government, surviving a clash with coalition allies that last week led to his formal resignation as prime minister.

Berlusconi, who controls top Italian commercial broadcaster Mediaset, now heads Italy’s 60th government since the end of WWII. He was sworn in Saturday, just three days after his previous government fell.

Dubbed “Berlusconi Two” by the Italian press, Berlusconi’s new government consists of a partly reshuffled cabinet, including new communications and culture ministers.

Berlusconi had been clinging to power ever since his center-right bloc was beaten in regional elections earlier this month, causing tensions within the coalition.

One of the coalition parties, the Union of Christian Democrats, had threatened to pull its ministers from the cabinet and demanded that Berlusconi form a fresh government with a new platform. That’s what Berlusconi has now done.

Outgoing Communications Minister Maurizio Gasparri, who was instrumental in passing a media law considered beneficial to Mediaset, has been replaced by Mario Landolfi, a member of Gasparri’s right-wing National Alliance party.

Culture czar Giuliano Urbani, who recently introduced a new film law designed to do away with state subsidies to dud films, has also ankled, but he is now tipped to become pubcaster RAI’s new prexy.

Urbani has been replaced by Rocco Buttiglione, a Catholic centrist known outside Italy for homophobic remarks he made in front of the European Parliament in Brussels last year.

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