RAI appointment draws opposition's wrath

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ROME -- Opposition lawmakers in Italy were up in arms Wednesday over the appointment of center-left politician Fabiano Fabiani as head of state broadcaster RAI, asking the country's president to intervene and threatening to cease cooperating with the ruling coalition.

Fabiani, who was appointed to the post Tuesday, replacing Angelo Maria Petroni, is considered a politically controversial candidate by opposition party members who want a more centrist candidate.

Gianfranco Fini, one of the main opposition leaders, said that Fabiani's appointment showed the government's "arrogance" in treating RAI as a mouthpiece for the ruling coalition.

"RAI is meant to serve the citizens of Italy and not any one political party," Fini was quoted as saying in the local media.

Traditionally, RAI's directors are selected by the ruling government coalition but approved by lawmakers on both sides of the isle.

Opposition lawmakers have threatened to petition Italian President Giorgio Napolitano -- not a member of any coalition -- to have Fabiani's appointment withdrawn.

RAI's press office declined comment when contacted.
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