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ROME: Italian President Giorgio Napolitano faced criticism on Sunday for failing to name any women to the 10-strong “wise men” panel of experts he appointed to help find a way out of the political deadlock created by last month’s election.

The group of advisers, including a former head of the constitutional court, the chief of statistics agency ISTAT, a board member of the Bank of Italy and senior politicians from the centre-right and centre-left blocs in parliament, are due to meet for the first time on Tuesday.

“It’s sad, very sad. The fact that there are 10 men and not a single woman is sad,” said former European Commissioner Emma Bonino, one of Italy’s most prominent campaigners for equal rights for women in politics.

“One thing I can say. This commission does not reflect the make-up of our society. It denies the presence of women in society, it isn’t a far-sighted choice,” she told the daily La Repubblica.

While Italy’s election failed to produce a clear result, it did yield what has been hailed as a positive change of direction in terms of a big increase in women parliamentarians to around 31 per cent from 20 per cent previously.—Reuters

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