Giulio Andreotti dies in Rome, aged 94

Giulio Andreotti, who has died at the age of 94 in Rome, was one of Italy’s most well-known politicians in the second half of the 20th century. There is probably no other politician of his generation who held so many government positions; prime minister (seven times), foreign minister, interior minister, minister of defence and many others, as well as attempting (but failing) in a bid for the president of the republic in 1992.

At one time there was no aspect of government, party politics, economics, finance or banking in which Andreotti did not have a say.

A founding father of the Italian republic after world war two, Andreotti was one of the architects of the post-war alliance with the United States and one of its staunchest allies against the Soviet Union during the Cold War, as well as being a convinced European. He was in addition a journalist, a prolific author and a university professor. He was a practicing Roman Catholic and had considerable clout in the Vatican in the days when the influence of an Italian pope was of paramount importance in Italian politics. Until he became too ill and frail Andreotti could be seen attending Mass in the centre of Rome every morning.

Giulio Andreotti, Aldo Moro, Amintore Fanfani for the Christian Democratic party and on the other side of the political divide Enrico Berlinguer for the Communists were the names that counted in the political establishment of those years.

But by the last decade of the 20th century Andreotti was accused of links and dealings with the Sicilian mafia and of ordering the murder of a journalist who said he would reveal all. Andreotti was found guilty in the first instance but the verdict was then overturned in appeal. However the ex-prime minister never managed to shake off the accusations of links with organised crime and with some of the most spectacular political assassinations of those years.

For many he will only be remembered as the devious and insidious protagonist of the satirical prize-winning film Il Divo by Paolo Sorrentino (see video).