Italian PM dismisses legal troubles as `farce`

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi vows to stay on in power.

Rome: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Friday dismissed his legal troubles as a "farce" and vowed to stay on in power, amid a series of corruption and prostitution investigations against him.

"There are attacks of unprecedented force against me but I will keep going," Berlusconi said in a phone link-up with a rally of his People of Freedom party (PDL) in the town of Fabriano in central Italy, ANSA news agency reported.

"These inquiries are a farce and will boomerang," Berlusconi said, adding: "I am determined to continue, strong in the knowledge that I am right."

"For 17 years I`ve been hurled accusations that are as heavy as boulders to send me home but I continue to stay in power," he added.

Prosecutors are expected next week to request that Berlusconi stand trial for abuse of power in a case involving an alleged underage prostitute.

He has repeatedly dismissed the allegations as a plot by prosecutors.

Berlusconi on Friday instead emphasised his plans to speed up Italy`s sluggish economic growth, saying he would give the economy "a major boost".

"At a cabinet meeting on Tuesday we will launch an extraordinary plan to give a boost, a major boost, to the Italian economy," said the Prime Minister.

He said this would raise growth to an annual 4.0 percent within three years.

He also said that Italy`s left-wing opposition "is only held together by the stubborn will to do away with me using all licit and above all illicit means”.

Bureau Report

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