Sabato, 20 Ottobre 2018

Senate panel starts meetings over Berlusconi office ban


Rome, September 18 - The Senate panel who will
decide the political fate of Silvio Berlusconi began meetings
Wednesday ahead of a vote scheduled late in the day over whether
to strip the three-time premier of his seat in the Upper House,
following a conviction for tax fraud, and possibly thrust the
country into a crisis of government.
The much-anticipated vote, scheduled for 20:00 local time,
has been put off for over a week surrounding threats from the
media magnate's center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party to
bring down the left-right executive it co-governs with the
center-left Democratic Party (PD) of Premier Enrico Letta if PD
Senators make good on their promise to vote to ratify
Berlusconi's ban from office.
The ban is part of a new anti-corruption rule that kicked
in after Italy's supreme Cassation Court found Berlusconi guilty
August 1 in his first-ever binding conviction in nearly 20 years
of legal entanglements with magistrates he claims are left-wing
and biased.
Meanwhile, Berlusconi is reportedly torn between the advice
of hawks and doves in the PdL.
The hawks say Berlusconi should scupper the executive and
try to provoke fresh elections.
The doves say provoking the end of the administration would
have negative consequences for the country, which is trying to
emerge from its longest recession in over two decades, as well
as for the PdL and for Berlusconi himself and his business
Regardless, the loss of his seat appears imminent.
Former justice minister Paola Severino on Tuesday called on
parliament to apply the anti-corruption law named after her to
Berlusconi, arguing the legitimacy of the law was at stake.
"We were all in agreement" in the Mario Monti government
"when, after a long and detailed process, the law was passed,"
she said.
"When you pass a law, you believe in what you are doing.
Now its application is the responsibility of the government".

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