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Berlusconi Okay After Collapse During Speech

From France’s AFP:

Italy’s Berlusconi recovers after collapse


Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi collapsed briefly while making a political speech in a stuffy sports hall but recovered after being carried out of the room.

Live television pictures showed Berlusconi on the podium closing his eyes and slowly collapsing in front of the microphone while trying to speak in an address to political supporters in Montecatini, near Florence Sunday.

His bodyguards immediately stepped in to stop him falling over and his personal doctor Umberto Scapagnini was seen apparently taking Berlusconi’s pulse. The bodyguards then carried him out of the hall.

"He lost conscience for a few seconds. The cause could just as likely be the fatigue of these last few days, as the strong heat in the hall," Scapagnini said.

Half an hour after the incident the 70-year-old media magnate walked out of the building and stepped into a car, ANSA news agency reported.

His spokesman Paolo Bonaiuti said Berlusconi was feeling better and would return by helicopter from the central Italian town to his residence near the northern city of Milan. He is then due to undergo a detailed medical examination.

Berlusconi "has recovered, he is better and is walking unaided," Bonaiuti said on Rai state television. He added that the incident was due to a fall in blood pressure.

"We laid him out and he immediately regained consciousness and his blood pressure returned to normal," Scapagnini added.

Berlusconi, Italy’s richest man, left government last April after his centre-right coalition lost elections to Romano Prodi, who now heads a centre-left government.

Shortly before collapsing Sunday, he told supporters at the political meeting that emotions could be harmful to health at his age.

"You do not think of the fact that we elderly people are more exposed to emotion and that emotion can at times play bad tricks on the heart," he said.

SKY TG24 television said Berlusconi was currently taking antibiotics and had complained on arrival that the hall was over-heated.

Berlusconi’s political opponents, including the prime minster and two vice-prime ministers, promptly sent him get-well wishes after his collapse.

"Dear Silvio, I am very concerned by what happened today while you were talking with your customary ardour to young members of your party," said a message from Prodi.

"I am convinced that it is just a small problem and wish you a speedy recovery."

Berlusconi and his conservative allies are planning a big protest next weekend in Rome against the Prodi government’s budgetary plans.

Next week will also see the continuation of Berlusconi’s trial on tax fraud and money-laundering charges, He faces up to 12 years in jail if convicted.

The article neglects to mention that Berlusconi has also been recently accused of having rigged the last election — even though he lost.

But given that he faces a hard-line Communist opponent, maybe they should check for radiation poisoning.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, November 26th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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