Martedì, 25 Settembre 2018

Letta confident Berlusconi's party won't sink government


Rome, September 9 - Premier Enrico Letta has said
he is confident Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL)
party will not sink the government before a meeting Monday of a
Senate panel on whether to strip the centre-right leader of his
parliamentary seat after a tax-fraud conviction.
The PdL has threatened to withdraw its support for Letta's
grand-coalition government if its main government alliance
partner, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), carries through
with its stated intention to vote for Berlusconi to be stripped
of his status as Senator on the panel.
But the premier, whose executive was made possible by an
unprecedented alliance between traditional foes in the PD and
PdL in April after two months of deadlock followed February's
inconclusive general election, said he was optimistic the
government would not fall.
"I'm sure that the PdL will decide for the best," Letta, a
PD member, told the BBC.
"I don't think it will leave the coalition. I don't know
what will happen with the internal debate (within the PdL), but
I'm working with the certainty that the government will continue
to work and the parties will keep supporting the government".
It may make more than a month for the Senate to reach a
final decision on whether to strip Berlusconi of his seat after
the supreme court upheld a four-year tax-fraud conviction
against him last month - three years of which have been commuted
because of an amnesty - making it definitive.
A full Senate vote is required to make the ban effective
but the PdL says it will not come to that if the PD votes
against Berlusconi on the panel.
The three-time premier risks losing his parliamentary seat
under the terms of an anti-corruption law approved in 2012,
which bans anyone with a conviction like the three-time
premier's from holding office for six years.
The PdL claims the law is being applied retroactively in
Berlusconi's case, although it became effective before his
definitive four-year conviction for fraud on film rights for his
Mediaset empire on August 1.
The PdL says the offences for which Berlusconi was
convicted took place before the law was passed, and so it is
being applied retroactively, which they say is against the
Italian Constitution.
The PD has dismissed arguments from jurists sympathetic to
the PdL as "quibbling" and says the law must be applied to
Berlusconi as it would be to anyone else.
Berlusconi has appealed to Italy's Constitutional Court and
the European Court of Human Rights against the ban from the
tax-fraud conviction, which he blames, like his many other
cases, on persecution by magistrates he says are left-wing.

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