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Mara Carfagna

Mara CarfagnaMara Carfagna, born December 18th, 1975 in Salerno is an Italian politician and was a former showgirl and model. After obtaining a degree in law, Carfagna worked for several years on Italian television shows and occasionally as a model. She later entered politics and was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the Forza Italia party in 2006. From 2008 to 2011 she served as Minister for Equal Opportunity in the Berlusconi IV Cabinet. At the time Carfagna had been named "the most beautiful minister in the world", and was ranked number one on the Maxim Magazine "World´s Hottest Politicians" list. Born in Salerno, she attended the Liceo Scientifico Giovanni da Procida. In 2001 she graduated with a degree in law from the University of Salerno, with a thesis on information law and broadcasting systems. In 1997 after having spent years studying dance and piano, she participated in the Miss Italy contest where she finished in sixth place. About the experience she later said:

"That competition makes you as a woman, it matures you. All that stress, that desire to win, it makes you understand who you are..."

Later she started working in television for the company Mediaset which is controlled by the family of Silvio Berlusconi. From 2000 to 2006 she participated as a showgirl in the television program La domenica del villaggio (English: Sunday in the Village) with Davide Mengacci. In 2006 she led the program Piazza Grande (English: Main Square) together with Giancarlo Magalli. Carfagna has also been part of the television programs I cervelloni, Vota la voce and Domenica In.

Mara CarfagnaCarfagna has in the past posed semi-nude on several occasions, for print publications such as Maxim Magazine. Reluctant to talk about her modelling past, she has nevertheless suggested that she had certain reservations about the work and on one occasion she said:

"I am a bit of a prude and I found getting undressed in front of a camera to not be a pleasant experience."

She stated that she is a firm believer in family values, and claimed in an interview that she once refused to take part in a movie directed by erotic filmmaker Tinto Brass. Carfagna entered politics in 2004, and became responsible for the women's movement in the political party Forza Italia - presently The People of Freedom Party. In the elections of 2006 she was elected into the Chamber of Deputies for Forza Italia, and in the 2008 elections – running as the third candidate from The People of Freedom in the district Campania 2 – she was reelected. When she first entered parliament, Berlusconi jokingly commented that the Forza Italia Party practiced the law of primae noctis - the right of a feudal lord to take the virginity of his female subjects. A comment that sounds pretty much par for the course for Mr. Berlusconi.

As a deputy she was secretary of the Commission for Constitutional Affairs, and has been described as a diligent, hard-working parliamentarian. On May 8, 2008 she was appointed Minister for Equal Opportunity, in the fourth cabinet of Silvio Berlusconi, an appointment that was widely publicised internationally, with focus on her due to her unique background. The others appointed were Stefania Prestigiacomo as Minister of Environment, Maria Stella Gelmini as Minister of Education and Giorgia Meloni as Minister of Youth.

Mara CarfagnaCarfagna had been vocal on certain issues, such as the level of crime in her home town of Salerno, after having herself been the victim of burglary on three different occasions. She describes herself as an anti-feminist, as she believes that "liberty" depends not on independence, but on rules and discipline. She opposes gay marriage, and says that matrimonial rights should be tied to reproduction. Soon after her accession she refused to back a gay pride march, arguing that discrimination was no longer a problem for homosexuals in Italy because the homophobia was just a thinking offence, a statement that was strongly criticised by gay rights groups.

In September 2008, Carfagna introduced proposal for a new law that would make street prostitution a crime, with fines for both the clients and the prostitutes. The bill was her first major initiative as a minister.

She said: "At present in Italy, as in the great majority of Western countries, brothels and the exploitation of prostitutes by pimps were illegal but prostitution as such was not." And she described street prostitution as a "shameful phenomenon".

Mara CarfagnaCarfagna was criticized by prostitutes' representatives and other charities for introducing the bill. However, some Catholic charities praised her for having the courage to take on prostitution as a serious social evil. In 2009 she became the first political promoter of the law against the offence of stalking. This law was finally approved on the 23rd of February 2009, introduced as a package of bills known as the Decreto Maroni. In the same year she signed a campaign against homophobia in Italy, with television spots, images on magazines and wall billboards on city walls. She also proposed a bill against homophobia, in which homophobia was considered as an aggravating circumstance in bullying events, but this bill was next refused by the Parliament. In 2010 during political debate for the 8th of March celebration she claimed that women gained the right to vote in Italy in 1960, while actually they did in 1946, and that the law that rules intrahousehold relationship was reformed in 1970 while it was actually done in 1975.

In January of 2007, Carfagna was at the center of a controversy that received international attention. On the evening of the Telegatto Award Show, Berlusconi said about Carfagna that:

"If I was not already married I would have married her immediately".

Mara CarfagnaThe comment caused Berlusconi's wife, Veronica Lario, to demand an apology through a national newspaper - something which she also received. Carfagna herself has later described the comment as "gallant and harmless," and said that she did not quite understand Lario's reaction. On July 5th, 2008, the Argentine journal Clarín reported about telephone wiretap records authorized for an anti-corruption investigation. Reporter Julio Algañaraz wrote that Carfagna and Silvio Berlusconi engaged in a telephone conversation with explicit allusions to oral sex. The wiretap transcripts have not been published, but the Italian newspaper La Republica interviewed the former vice-minister of Foreign Affairs in the Berlusconi II Cabinet and socialist executive Margherita Boniver, who admitted the existence of some of these messages.

Carfagna showed Michelle Obama and Sweden's First Lady Filippa Reinfeldt around Rome when the G8 Summit met there on July 8, 2009. This hostess with the mostess, who was appointed to her current post by Berlusconi on May 8, 2008, is nicknamed Mara La Bella (English: Maria The Beautiful). Before her entrance into politics, Mara competed for the Miss Italia crown, worked as an actress and posed nude for a few magazines. In 2006 Carfagna was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the Forza Italia party. She's been active in reducing crime in her hometown of Salerno and championing legislation against street prostitution. And was recognized by Maxim Magazine when they ranked her as the "World's Hottest Politician.


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Mara Carfagna a L'Arena - April 7th 2013


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