ROME — The former Italy Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may face a forced abandonment of the Italian political scene after a Milan court ruled he should be barred of holding a public office for two years. This ruling comes after Il Cavalieri saw his defence appeal rejected on August 1, 2012 against a four years sentence for tax fraud, leaving the 77-year-old to face yet another threat to his already long political career.
The last decision regarding his expulsion from the senate lays in the hands of the upper house of parliament, which will hold a vote next month. Since his entry into politics 20 years ago, Berlusconi has faced many trials and charges ranging from tax evasion to a current for paying for sex with a minor.
If the decision goes against the center-right leader he will be free of the parliamentary immunity that has shield him from possible convictions, such as the one-year under house arrest or community service for inflated invoices in his Mediaset broadcasting company.
Berlusconi’s lawyers have appealed to the supreme court for a reduction of the two-year-ban into a year, however he faces strong coalition of political opponents who dominate the senate vowed to vote in order to expel him from his seat. This opposition has come not only from left forces such as the five-star anti-establishment led by comedian Beppe Grillo but also from inside party political opponents.
After his conviction, Berlusconi broke with the government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta an attempt to bring down proceedings and call for anticipated elections by demanding the senators from his People of Freedom right coalition to resign the parliament.
However the former Prime Minister was left empty-handed when a group of dissenters from the PDL refused to follow his plea and not just gave the current government a vote of confidence but also refused to block the procedures to expel him.
Carlo Giovardani, a PDL dissenter, has stated that, “there are enough of us, we may be more than 40, and we are determined to preserve the government.”
Berlusconi has not reacted publically to his setback however in a letter published by the Tempi, a weekly online publication with links to Communion and Liberation, a conservative Catholic group close to the political leader has revealed some of opinions in the matter.
In the extract, Berlsuconi blames Letta and President Giorgio Napolitano for not granting him with immunity, arguing that it, “eroded the basis of parliamentary democracy.” Increasingly alone politically and facing pertinent charges and convictions from all sides, the voting next month in the upper chamber of the parliament can be beginning of the end for the long and controversial political carrier of Il Cavaliere.
Image Courtesy: By European People’s Party (EPP Summit 18 June 2009) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons