Berlusconi: Wealth could defeat corruption

Jan. 2, 2013 at 10:05 AM
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ROME, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Encouraging wealthy candidates to seek office would be a way to discourage political corruption, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday.

"To avoid scandalous phenomena we need to put people on the ballot who have their own money," Berlusconi said on radio station Canale Italia.

Berlusconi has vast media holdings, making him one of Italy's wealthiest people, ANSA reported.

"People are needed who are protagonists of civil life and who are about to underwrite a pact to reduce the number of representatives in [parliament] by 50 percent, and at the same time halve their salaries, and [cap] a parliamentary career to a maximum of two legislatures for everyone," he said. "With these decisions, one can truly speak of a drive for renewal."

However, Berlusconi faced a series of scandals, including a first-degree conviction in October for an offshore tax-evasion scheme at his Mediaset conglomerate and a trial in which he is accused of paying an underage Moroccan prostitute for sex and abusing his authority by telephoning police on the teen's behalf when she was held on a robbery charge.

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