Berlusconi drops TV interview plan

April 6, 2006 at 11:24 AM

ROME, April 6 (UPI) -- Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, facing growing opposition criticism, reportedly has dropped his plan for a TV interview on one of his stations.

Such an interview might have risked breaking Italy's strict election laws providing for equal access, reports The Financial Times.

The country will have elections Sunday and Monday that will see Berlusconi's center-right coalition go against a center-left party led by Romano Prodi, which held a comfortable lead in opinion polls until last month. Berlusconi supporters say their side is gaining ground.

The billionaire media tycoon Berlusconi claimed Prodi and other opposition leaders had been invited to appear in the TV interview with him but that they had turned down the invitation.

Before the prime minister changed his plans, Prodi had said: "This would be a very grave violation of a law of state, the law on equal access, which defends democracy by preventing overexposure in the media. Laws of state are made to be observed."

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