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Lidové noviny - Czech Republic | Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New ECB head soon Italian premier

The Italian Mario Draghi takes over today, Tuesday, as president of the European Central Bank (ECB). The conservative daily Lidové noviny however already sees him as successor to Italy's struggling Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and for that reason only as transitional head of the ECB: "Thanks to his growing popularity he could succeed Italy's prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. It's not only the opposition and the unions who are calling for Berlusconi's resignation, but now also the businesspeople as well, from whose ranks Berlusconi rose. In Italy Mario Draghi is seen as someone with almost supernatural powers. Above all the Italians appreciate that he was able to prevent his country's bankruptcy in the 1990s as director of the Italian Treasury. Draghi ordered large-scale privatisation, devalued the currency and cut state expenditure. Only thanks to these measures was Italy able to become a founding member of the Eurozone in 1999. ... Even today Berlusconi is completely dependent on Draghi."

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