Berlusconi Vote: Italian Senate Panel Recommends Expulsion
In a widely expected development, an Italian Senate committee moved on Friday to recommend that Silvio Berlusconi be stripped of his position in the legislature. A court upheld the former prime minister's conviction in August on tax evasion charges.
The days of Silvio Berlusconi's political career appear to be coming to an abrupt end. On Friday, an Italian Senate committee voted to recommend that former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi be expelled from the Senate as a result of his August conviction for tax fraud.
A final decision is planned within the next 20 days in the Senate, but the Immunity Committee's decision is considered an important precondition for expelling Berlusconi from public office. The Senators on the committee took a full five hours on Friday to deliberate the issue. Committee chairman Dario Stefano said the body had voted by a "majority" to recommend that the Senate vote to remove Berlusconi from office.
A 'Political Judgement'
Berlusconi himself did not appear at the meeting. He said he expected a "political judgement" against him that would be biased and not based on facts.
Berlusconi has argued that the law, which first went into effect in January 2013, cannot be applied retroactively to a conviction on tax offenses that occurred years ago. Berlusconi has also appealed his possible expulsion from the Senate to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and has demanded that the legislative body await its ruling before making any decision.
Both the former prime minister and his supporters have sought to defend the politician against the threat of being banished from the Senate. Earlier this week, Berlusconi even threatened to topple Letta's government by withdrawing important ministers. In the end, though, many of his supporters refused to back him up.
dsl -- with wires
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