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Italy premier's ex partner steps down as TV host after scandal

Giambruno will retain editorial role in talk show.

Italian television journalist Andrea Giambruno, former partner of Italy's premier Giorgia Meloni, has stood down as the host of talk show Diario del giorno in the wake of a scandal over his lewd off-air remarks, the Mediaset network announced on Tuesday night.

In a statement, Mediaset - owned by the family of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi - said that Giambruno was "sorry for the embarrassment" created by his behaviour, and that he had agreed to step down as the presenter of Diario del giorno but would retain an editorial role in the programme.

News agency ANSA underlines that, based on the contents of the short statement from Mediaset, it can be deduced that the company will not be taking any disciplinary proceedings against the journalist.

Giambruno's departure as presenter of Diario del giorno comes after a series of sleazy off-air remarks were broadcast last week by satirical television programme Striscia la notizia.

The tv host was recorded referring to "threesomes" and "foursomes" with female staff, apparently admitting to an affair, and flirting with a female colleague by asking "Why didn't I meet you sooner?"

On Friday morning prime minister Meloni announced the end of her decade-long relationship with Giambruno, with whom she shares a seven-year-old daughter.

Meloni, the leader of the rightwing Fratelli d'Italia and a vocal exponent of traditional family values, said that the couple's paths had "diverged for some time" but thanked Giambruno for "giving me the most important thing in my life, which is our daughter Ginevra."

"I will defend, at all costs, a seven-year-old girl who loves her mother and loves her father, as I could not love mine", Meloni wrote, concluding: "I have nothing else to say about this."

In August Giambruno was at the centre of controversy over comments he made on his show when he appeared to suggest that young women could avoid rape by not getting drunk and ending up in a situation with "the wolf".

He also caused an outcry last month by referring to flows of migrants from Africa to Italy as "transhumance", a term normally applied to the movement of livestock.

Following the broadcasting of Giambruno's off-air outbursts on Striscia la notizia last week, the show's creator Antonio Ricci told ANSA: "One day Meloni will realise that I did her a favour."

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