Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018

Napolitano's pardon statements get mixed reviews


Rome, August 14 - Italian President Giorgio
Napolitano's statement that he would consider if it was possible
to pardon centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi after a one-year
conviction for tax fraud and ban from public office was met with
conflicting interpretations on Wednesday.
The two allies making up Italy's fragile coalition
government, the long-time foes center-left Democratic Party (PD)
of Premier Enrico Letta and Berlusconi's conservative People of
Freedom party (PdL), highlighted different passages of
Napolitano's statement.
PD lawmakers noted the president had stressed that all
convictions must be implemented while the ex-premier's allies
welcomed Napolitano's opening to the possibility of a pardon.
"It looks to me like President Napolitano repeated a
concept that should have been obvious for weeks - that Italy is
a state of law and convictions upheld on appeal must be
respected and implemented", said the PD's Deputy Economy
Minister Stefano Fassina in an interview published Wednesday by
Turin daily La Stampa.
PD Senate whip Luigi Zanda also noted that Napolitano had
stressed that any decision would have to respect the division of
"The statement cites the limits and characteristics of
powers attributed to the head of state", said Zanda.
Pdl lawmakers on the other hand welcomed Napolitano's
opening after demanding over the past week that Berlusconi be
pardoned on the grounds that he has long been the victim of
malicious prosecution and threatening to bring down Italy's
unprecedented left-right coalition government over the issue.
Napolitano's statement, said leading PdL member Stefania
Prestigiacomo, "has been a first acknowledgement that the
situation is difficult and a solution must be found.
"There are almost 10 million Italians who would otherwise
be robbed of their political representation.
"The issue of Berlusconi's political presence is real.
Napolitano's opening is very important".
Napolitano said Tuesday he was weighing if it was possible
to pardon Berlusconi while stressing that all convictions must
be implemented.
He also noted that he had not received a pardon request and
that any decision he would make in such an event would have to
respect the division of state powers.
Napolitano pointed out that Berlusconi, 76, would be
eligible to serve his one-year sentence at one of his many
residences or doing some form of community service.
The Senate is scheduled to vote next month on ejecting the
PdL leader whether or not his ban is upheld.
The president once more warned against ending Italy's
two-month-old emergency reform government, which he helped forge
to end two months of political deadlock following February's
inconclusive general election amid the country's longest
recession in over twenty years.
Berlusconi's lawyer Franco Coppi told Corriere della Sera on
Wednesday that with his statement the president had indicated
that "the issue does not only concern the citizen Silvio
Berlusconi but rather the country's equilibrium".
He said no decision had yet been made on a pardon request
and that "in the end, it will be Berlusconi who will have to
"It is certainly a possibility that is being considered",
said the attorney.
Coppi later voiced his belief that a pardon request would be
forthcoming, "sooner or later".

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