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Berlusconi starlet plan causes ire of his wife

SILVIO Berlusconi may be one of Italy's most popular politicians but the premier's approval rating is sinking fast with his wife.

Veronica Lario publicly voiced her rage over reports that Berlusconi's party was lining up a troupe of TV showgirls and starlets as candidates for June's European Parliament elections.

A spokesman for the conservative Freedom People party said the reports were unfounded, adding that the official list of candidates was expected be presented later.

Party spokesman Daniele Capezzone did admit the women attended a recent crash course on politics at Freedom People headquarters in Rome, with Berlusconi and other top government officials as teachers.

"The party organized a course for dozens and dozens of people, many with extraordinary CVs and academic experiences, and only a few with a background in show business," he said.

"These myths and urban legends will be dispelled tonight when the candidatures are finalized."

Among the rumored candidates were Barbara Matera, a Miss Italy contestant and model, Angela Sozio, a busty redhead who participated in Big Brother, and Eleonora Gaggioli, a star in several made-for-TV movies.

On Tuesday Lario, a former actress, said the party's alleged election plans as "shameless rubbish" that offended her, her children and women in general.

Lario, Berlusconi's second wife with whom she has three children, also reacted to media reports the premier attended the late-night birthday party of an 18-year-old woman in Naples.

"It surprised me very much," she said. "Also because he never came to the 18th of any of his children, even though he was invited."


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