Giulio Andreotti, who played a dominant role in postwar Italian politics serving seven times as prime minister, was hospitalized in serious condition in Rome.
Andreotti, 93, was admitted today to the Gemelli hospital with cardiac complications after suffering a respiratory infection, the hospital said in an e-mailed statement.
Andreotti was a key figure in the Christian Democrats, the party that played a role in every post-World War II government in Italy until dissolving in July 1993 in the wake of a political corruption scandal. Apart from seven terms as premier, Andreotti served as defense, foreign, finance and interior ministers in various governments and remains a Senator for Life, an honorary title that allows him to vote in Parliament.
A devout Catholic with close ties to the Vatican, Andreotti’s legacy of public service was marred by allegations of ties to the Mafia and a conviction for murder. He was indicted for colluding with the Sicilian Mafia in exchange for votes. An appeals court in 2003 eventually acquitted him, saying his ties had lasted only until 1980 and the statute of limitations had kicked in. That same year an appeals court overturned his conviction and a 24-year jail sentence for playing a role in the murder of an Italian journalist.
Andreotti was born in Rome on Jan. 14, 1919 as the youngest of three children. He was instrumental in shaping foreign policy, leading Italy into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the United Nations and making the country one of the founding members of the European Union.
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