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Italy in crisis as cabinet resigns.

THE Italian Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani and his coalition cabinet resigned following a scandal over membership of a Masonic lodge, in 1981.

It followed a police raid on the Arezzo home of financier Lucio Gelli in March that uncovered a list of hundreds of members of the P2 (Propaganda Two) Masonic lodge.

Among those on the list were leading members of the armed forces, civil servants, top bankers, industrialists and newspaper editors. Many denied that they were members of the lodge The Italian Communist Party had said it would call for a no-confidence vote in parliament unless the cabinet resigned over revelations that several prominent politicians were members of P2.

Flaminio Piccoli, secretary of the Christian Democrats, said: "Membership of the party and adherence to the Freemasons cannot be other than incompatible." The Minister of Justice, Adolfo Sarti, resigned last week amid allegations that he had applied for admission to the lodge.

Senator Sarti has denied he made any attempt to join P2 and, in a letter to the prime minister, said he had been forced out of government because his name was tainted in a "slanderous campaign". Two other ministers and 30 MPs have been included in a list of alleged members of P2, which was under investigation. P2 is one of more than 520 Masonic lodges which belong to the Grand Orient of Italy, the principal Masonic organisation in the country. The lodge was described as "a state within a state" amid allegations that it plotted to carry out a right-wing coup in Italy.

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* SCANDAL: The Italian Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:May 26, 2012
Words:265
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