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Former Liberal Party leader Valerio Zanone dies in Rome

Italy mourns ex minister, lawmaker, Turin mayor

Former Liberal Party leader Valerio Zanone dies in Rome

Rome, January 7 - Valerio Zanone, former leader of the Italian Liberal Party (PLI) and ex mayor of Turin, died at his home in Rome on Thursday at the age of 79. During the course of his long political career the liberal from Turin also held several ministerial positions and sat in the Lower House for five parliaments and in the Senate for one. He served as secretary of the now defunct PLI from 1976 to 1985 and as cabinet minister in successive governments led by Bettino Craxi, Giovanni Goria and Ciriaco De Mita between 1985 and 1989. He can be credited with establishing the ministry for the environment in 1986, one of the first in Europe. He also served as minister for industry in 1986 and of defence from 1987 to 1989. He was elected mayor of the Piedmont regional capital in 1990 and remained in the post until 1992, when he returned to parliament. Following the demise of the PLI in 1994 he joined the centre-left Olive Tree Alliance led by Romano Prodi and then the Margherita (Daisy) party led by Francesco Rutelli. He was not a liberal for all seasons and his last political battle involved preventing the Rome-based cultural foundation dedicated to the former president of the republic Luigi Einaudi Foundation from coming under the control of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and his center-right Forza Italia (FI) party. He wanted to be remembered as "democratic, secular, pro-European, social" and asked for his tombstone to be inscribed with the one word 'liberal'.

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