Rome

President apologizes for no women in 'wise men' panels

Panels on economic, social, institutional issues given 10 days

President apologizes for no women in 'wise men' panels

(see previous). Rome, April 2 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said Tuesday that although he understands why some people were "disappointed" with the composition of his "wise men" panels, he believes he chose the best people to propose solid economic and political reforms within 10 days. "I proceeded under particular urgency and difficulty," in putting together the economic and institutional panels, which began separate meetings on Tuesday, explained Napolitano. The 10 men, drawn from economic, political, and bureaucratic circles, will address "serious, urgent and underlying problems," in Italy, Napolitano added. The panels have been asked to break Italy's post-election deadlock but Tuesday's sessions were described as a presidential spokesperson as "informal...reconnaissance" sessions for panel members to meet one another. Napolitano also apologized for not including any women in the panels, which were hastily appointed and announced on Saturday, after Pier Luigi Bersani of the Democratic Party was unable to pull together a government out of the various parties elected to parliament in late February's general election. But, explained Napolitano, these panels are not formal committees and will have only a very short life, adding "nothing here is created to interfere in the work of Parliament...nor in the decisions of incumbent political forces".

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