Martedì, 18 Settembre 2018
ROME

Center left says won't save Berlusconi

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)

Rome, August 12 - The center-left took a hard line
Monday on longtime-foe-turned-uneasy-ally, three-time premier
Silvio Berlusconi, and a supreme court conviction for tax fraud,
vowing to vote in favor of banning him from office.
Regional Affairs Minister Graziano del Rio told the La
Repubblica daily that the unprecedented left-right coalition
government "was born to help Italy out of the economic crisis,"
and that "we did not create the legal troubles of Berlusconi -
we weren't the cause and we won't be the solution".
PD Lower House whip Roberto Speranza said simply there
would be "no deals" between the embattled parties that make up
the fragile executive.
Earlier this month the media tycoon was sentenced by the
supreme Cassation Court to four years in jail for tax fraud on
film rights at his Mediaset empire, his first-ever definitive
conviction against him in years of legal entanglements that
range from charges of abuse of office and judge buying to paying
an underage prostitute for sex.
The jail term has been commuted to one year because of an
amnesty and due to his age, the sentence is likely to take the
form of community service or house arrest.
The sentence also comes with an automatic six-year ban from
office which, in order to take effect, the Senate must ratify
after the summer recess next month in a vote.
Speranza said that "the PD will vote for Berlusconi's
downfall".
If every member votes in unison, the ban should be ratified
since the party holds a narrow majority in the Senate, ahead of
Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party.
There were fears the ruling would have consequences for
Premier Enrico Letta's government, which needs the support of
Berlusconi's party to survive.
Both forged an uneasy alliance in the wake of inconclusive
February elections that produced two months of parliamentary
gridlock.
Supporters of the magnate have repeatedly threatened to
resign en masse if his ban from office is upheld.
But Berlusconi has said several times recently that his
legal problems and the government are separate issues.
Daniela Santanche', a PdL MP and longtime Berlusconi
loyalist, said in her eyes the government was already at its
end.
"It's finished because it fails to take action. Its role as
a government is already over," she told the daily Il Tempo.
"The only solution is to go back to the polls".

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