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Italy's PM Forms New Coalition Government


Carlo Azeglio Ciampi (l) and Silvio Berlusconi
Italy's conservative Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has formed a new coalition government, which will be sworn in Saturday evening.

The naming of a government ends weeks of political turmoil, and gives the new administration barely a year to improve the prime minister's popularity before the next general elections, scheduled for mid-2006.

Mr. Berlusconi has brought several new ministers into his Cabinet, but he is retaining Gianfranco Fini as foreign minister.

Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi asked Mr. Berlusconi to form a government during a meeting on Friday - two days after the prime minister resigned. His ruling coalition began to fall apart following crushing defeats in regional government elections.

The outgoing Cabinet had been Italy's longest-serving government since World War II.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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