Berlusconi suggests Italian general could be next prime minister

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi gestures as he attends television talk show "Porta a Porta" (Door to Door) in Rome, Italy, ON November 30, 2016. (REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo)
Updated 27 November 2017
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Berlusconi suggests Italian general could be next prime minister

ROME: Silvio Berlusconi has suggested a Carabinieri (military police) general could be Italy’s next prime minister if his center-right bloc wins national elections slated for early 2018.
Berlusconi, a four-times prime minister, is barred from holding public office because of a 2013 conviction for tax fraud. He is trying to overturn the ban, but is seeking alternative candidates if his legal battle fails.
“I have many names, but there is someone who is very capable ... who has had success and is esteemed by everyone, General (Leonardo) Gallitelli,” Berlusconi told a Sunday night chat show on state broadcaster RAI.
Gallitelli headed the Carabinieri, a military police force that operates under the control of both the defense and interior ministries, from 2009 to 2015. He is currently head of Italy’s anti-doping office.
Berlusconi said he had not yet discussed the idea with Gallitelli. He has previously suggested that European Central Bank Governor Mario Draghi or the CEO of carmaker Fiat Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, could be his prime ministerial candidate.
The billionaire media tycoon was widely written off after he quit as prime minister in 2011 amid a sex scandal. But he has made a remarkable political comeback and his Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party is now the lynchpin of a center-right coalition that leads in opinion polls ahead of next year’s election.
Berlusconi, 81, said if his bloc took power he would like to see 12 people from outside the world of politics appointed to the Cabinet, with only 8 ministries entrusted to politicians.
His allies, the far-right Northern League and Brothers of Italy, are likely to baulk at the suggestion. The three parties have agreed that whichever group gets more votes next year should nominate the prime minister.
Forza Italia is just ahead of the Northern League in the polls, but surveys indicate no one party or bloc will win enough votes to govern alone, meaning a hung Parliament looks likely.


Africa’s youngest billionaire free 9 days after abduction

Updated 20 October 2018
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Africa’s youngest billionaire free 9 days after abduction

  • Dar es Salaam Regional Police Chief Lazaro Mambosasa confirmed the release and said authorities continue to investigate
  • Forbes magazine in 2016 put Dewji's wealth at $1.5 billion

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania: The man described as Africa's youngest billionaire said Saturday he is free more than a week after his abduction from a luxury hotel in Tanzania's commercial capital, while police suggested his captors came from South Africa.
"I thank Allah that I have returned home safely," said a statement released by the 43-year-old Mohammed Dewji's foundation. It did not give details about the Oct. 11 abduction or what led to his release but thanked police for working for his safe return.
Dar es Salaam Regional Police Chief Lazaro Mambosasa confirmed the release and said authorities continue to investigate. There was no mention of a ransom being paid.
"We got information that the abductors used the same car that was used to seize him at the Colosseum Hotel and dumped him at gymkhana (sports facility) grounds," Mambosasa said. "We found him there physically fit, and we suspect that the abductors are South Africans because he said they were communicating in one of the vernacular from that country."
Environment Minister January Makamba, in a statement posted on Twitter, said he had spoken with Dewji and "he's the usual Mo. So he is okay."
Dewji, while arriving at the hotel for a workout, had been seized by two masked gunmen who fired into the air before driving away. Regional authorities said two white men were seen on surveillance video and quickly tightened controls at border posts and airports.
Forbes magazine in 2016 put Dewji's wealth at $1.5 billion.