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Doctor: Berlusconi has facelift

Berlusconi, pictured in December, has spent time at his villa in Sardinia.
Berlusconi, pictured in December, has spent time at his villa in Sardinia.

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ROME, Italy -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has had a facelift to prepare for this summer's European elections, Italian media reports.

Berlusconi appeared in public for the first time in almost a month Friday when he attended a Cabinet meeting in Rome.

His absence from public view during a period of high tension in Italy, following the fraud scandal at food giant Parmalat, has fueled speculation he might be ill.

But one of the 67-year-old's doctors said Berlusconi was in good shape. Umberto Scapagnini told Turin's La Stampa newspaper: "He is fine. In fact, he hadn't been in such a state of form in a long time."

Scapagnini added that the prime minister had had "a little bit of plastic surgery around his eyes."

But he added: "Don't ask me anything more because I don't want to talk about these private matters."

Scapagnini, who is also mayor of of the Sicilian port city of Catania, commented that "in today's image-conscious society, this is basic politics; it's practically compulsory for a politician," La Stampa reported.

The doctor could not be reached for comment about the reports.

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