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About Silvio Berlusconi

Italian President Silvio BerlusconiSilvio Berlusconi was born in Milan in 1936 and has a degree in law. In 1962 he began his career as a property developer.

He rapidly became Italy's leading developer of residential and large-scale retail real estate (Milano 2, Milano 3, Il Girasole). In 1980 he launched Canale 5, Italy's first national commercial television network, which was followed by Italia 1 in 1982 and Rete 4 in 1984.

The success of commercial television led to the development of other initiatives under the umbrella of the Fininvest holding company, which was founded in 1978. He went on to develop commercial television in other countries in Europe: in France with La Cinq (1986), in Germany with Telefunf (1987) and in Spain with Telecinco (1989).

With the acquisition of Mondadori, he became Italy's most important publisher of books and magazines. Through Mediolanum and Programma Italia, the Fininvest Group built up a solid position in banking, insurance and financial services.

In 1986 he became Chairman of A.C. Milan which, under his leadership, went on to win the National League six times, the Champion's League three times, the World Club Championship twice, as well as various other international trophies.

On the 26th January 1994 he resigned all of his positions in Fininvest. He founded the Forza Italia movement and the coalition known as Polo delle Liberte del Buongoverno. In the general election of March 1994 he obtained a majority of the votes and became Prime Minister.

In June 1999 he was re-elected Member of the European Parliament with three million votes. From 1996 to 2001 he was leader of the opposition in Parliament. On May 13, 2001 he won the general election as the leader of the "Casa delle Libertà" coalition with 18 and a half million votes.
May 2001.

Italy MapItaly

The Republic of Italy is an original member of the G8. Italy hosted the G8 summit for the first time in 1980 in Venice, Italy. They have hosted the summit a total of four times; Venice 1980, Venice 1987, Naples 1994, and Genoa 2001. Italy will host the G8 summit again in 2009.

The President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic is The Honorable Silvio Berlusconi. President Berlusconi was first elected in 2001.

Official Name: The Republic of ItalyItaly Flag

Area: 301,225 sq. km. (116,303 sq. mi.); about the size of Georgia and Florida combined.
Cities: Capital--Rome (pop. 2.8 million). Other cities--Milan, Naples, Turin.
Terrain: Mostly rugged and mountainous.
Climate: Generally mild Mediterranean; cold northern winters.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Italian(s).
Population: 57.5 million.
Annual growth rate: .28%.
Ethnic groups: Primarily Italian, but there are small groups of German-, French-, Slovene-, and Albanian-Italians.
Religion: Roman Catholic (majority).
Language: Italian (official).
Education: Years compulsory--18. Literacy--98%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--5.76/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--76.08 for men; 83.0 for women.
Work force (23.8 million): Services--57.6%; industry and commerce--28.9%; agriculture--4.2%; unemployed--9.2%.

Type: Republic since June 2, 1946.
Constitution: January 1, 1948.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state), Council of Ministers (cabinet), headed by the president of the council (prime minister). Legislative--bicameral parliament: 630-member Chamber of Deputies, 315-member Senate (plus a varying number of "life" Senators). Judicial--independent constitutional court and lower magistracy.
Subdivisions: 94 provinces, 20 regions.
Political parties: Forza Italia, Democratic Party of the Left, National Alliance, Northern League, United Christian Democrats, Democrats, Italian People's Party, Christian Democratic Center, Socialist, Communist Renewal, Social Democratic, Republican, Liberal, Greens, Italian Renewal.
Suffrage: Vote for House; universal over 18; vote for Senate; universal over 18.

GDP (2002): $1.2 trillion.
Per capita income (2002): $21,500.
GDP growth (2003 est.): 0.9%; 2002 0.4%; 2001 1.8%.
Natural resources: Fish, natural gas.
Agriculture: Products--wheat, rice, grapes, olives, citrus fruits. Industry: Types--automobiles, machinery, chemicals, textiles, shoes.
Trade (2002): Exports--$263.6 billion. Partners--EU 53%, U.S. 10%, OPEC 4%; mechanical products, textiles and apparel, transportation equipment, metal products, chemical products, food and agricultural products. Imports--$254.5 billion. Partners--EU 56%, OPEC 6%, U.S. 5%; machinery and transport equipment, foodstuffs, ferrous and nonferrous metals, wool, cotton, energy products.
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