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Italy’s Senate expels ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi

The Italian Senate has voted to expel ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi from parliament with immediate effect over his conviction for tax fraud.

Berlusconi, who has dominated politics for 20 years, could now face arrest over other criminal cases as he has lost his immunity from prosecution.

He told supporters in Rome it was a “day of mourning” for democracy.

Ahead of the vote, he vowed to remain in politics to lead his Forza Italia in a “fight for the good of Italy”.

Berlusconi told supporters gathered outside his Rome residence that “no political leader has suffered a persecution such as I have lived through”.

He said: “It is a bitter day, a day of mourning.”

Berlusconi, 77, said his struggle would continue outside parliament.

He said: “We must stay on the field, we must not despair if the leader of the centre-right is not a senator any more. There are leaders of other parties who are not parliamentarians.”

Ineligible

The debate in the Senate had been heated, with two rival senators nearly coming to blows.

Manuela Ripetti of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party shouted: “Your only aim is to eliminate Silvio Berlusconi!”

Continue reading the main story

Silvio Berlusconi’s trials

  • Convicted of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and of abuse of power for asking police to release her when she was arrested for theft; under appeal
  • Convicted of tax fraud in case focusing on the purchase of the TV rights to US films by his company, Mediaset
  • Acquitted in several other cases; also convicted in several, only to be cleared on appeal; others expired under statute of limitations

Continue reading the main story

No formal vote was held, but senators rejected a series of challenges from Berlusconi’s supporters.

The Senate speaker then declared the three-time prime minister ineligible for a seat.

“The conclusions of the committee on elections have been approved, abolishing the election of senator Silvio Berlusconi,” Speaker Pietro Grasso said.

After the vote, Beppe Grillo, the leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, tweeted: “Berlusconi has been expelled by the Senate. One is out. Now we must evict all the others from the House.”

Berlusconi was convicted of tax fraud in October 2012 over deals his firm Mediaset made to purchase TV rights to US films. The verdict was upheld in August.

He will have to serve a one-year sentence, probably under house arrest or by doing community service because of his age.

He has also been convicted of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and of a breach of confidentiality over a police wiretap. He is appealing against both convictions.

Source:BBC

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