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Silvio Berlusconi sparks row after saying mother can't also be Rome mayor

The former Italian premier has angered many after his comments about a woman considering running for mayor of Rome. The comments come as the cash-strapped city finds itself in the middle of a tense political battle.

Three-time former premier Silvio Berlusconi sparked a firestorm on Tuesday after his comments about the pregnant Giorgia Meloni, who's considering running for mayor of Rome.

"It is clear to everyone that a mother cannot devote herself to a job and this would be a terrible job, because Rome is in such a terrible state," the 79-year-old right-wing leader said in an interview with state broadcaster RAI.

Berlusconi also reiterated his support for Meloni's rival, Guido Bertolaso, who earlier this week said the woman should focus on being a mother.

Both mens' comments have drawn fierce backlash from people in Italy. The row also comes as different factions of the right battle for control of Rome. Meloni herself is a member of the right-wing Brothers of Italy party, and has been endorsed by Northern League leader Matteo Salvini.

The financially struggling city has been mired in corruption for years. The last mayor, the center-left politician Ignazio Marino, had to resign after a scandal exposed his weak management of the capital.

blc/kms (Reuters, AFP)

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