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Berlusconi names Gasparri to cabinet

Official had vowed to 'purge' RAI of alleged left-wing bias

MILAN — Media mogul turned politico Silvio Berlusconi was sworn in as Italian premier Monday and announced his cabinet.

The sensitive position of communications minister went to Maurizio Gasparri, a member of the former fascist party National Alliance, who angered the nation before the May 13 election with his calls to “purge” pubcaster RAI of its alleged left-wing bias.

His National Alliance party said Monday that RAI’s balance sheets will have to be assessed to see how it was using public money.

The main issue Berlusconi and his cabinet will have to address is RAI’s expected privatization, a political hot potato as Berlusconi still controls rival TV web Mediaset.

Italy’s 59th post-war cabinet also includes former RAI chairman Letizia Moratti, who is education minister.

A conservative independent close to the Berlusconi family, Moratti became head of RAI in 1994, when the media tycoon turned politico led his first government for seven months. She held her position until 1996, when differences of opinion with other top execs forced her to resign.

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