TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Berlusconi: Expulsion bid threat to Italian democracy

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Deutsche Presse-agentur
Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, 9:45 p.m.
 

ROME — Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said on Friday that his expulsion from the Senate would endanger democracy, as a committee from the upper house of Parliament voted in favor of the move as a result of his tax fraud conviction.

The expulsion needs to be ratified by a Senate plenary vote. Committee chair Dario Stefano said it would take place “within 20 days,” but it remains unclear whether senators would vote in secret or publicly.

“Today, the basic principles of the rule of law have faltered,” Berlusconi said in a statement. “When the rule of law is violated, democracy is shot through the heart.”

The former premier faces losing his seat because of a probity law that excludes convicted lawmakers from parliament. But he claims the law to be unconstitutional because it penalizes people for crimes they committed before it entered into force.

His rivals counter that the principle of non-retroactivity, normally valid in criminal matters, should not apply to laws setting the requirements for holding public office.

Berlusconi complained that the Senate panel, where his People of Freedom, or PDL, party is in a minority, was biased against him — just like the judges who convicted him. Earlier Friday, he passed on the chance to defend himself before the committee.

“The writing was already on the wall,” PDL Senate speaker Renato Schifani said. “Whatever the final outcome in the chamber, we are sure that Silvio Berlusconi will remain the undisputed leader” of Italy's conservatives.

The 77-year-old “remains the leader and the role model for half of the Italian population,” said Schifani's counterpart in the lower assembly, Renato Brunetta.

Schifani had called for Friday's vote to be called off because panel member Vito Crimi, who hails from the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, posted satirical messages against Berlusconi on his Facebook page.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Afghan intelligence: Taliban leader Mullah Omar dead 2 years
  2. Boehner vows to do ‘everything possible’ to scuttle Iran nuclear deal
  3. Greece struggling to convince European Union creditors it’s for real
  4. NATO strike kills 7 Afghan troops during fight with Taliban
  5. Bombing mars praise for Afghan efforts
  6. Turkey to stick with air offensive in ISIS battle
  7. U.S., Turkey plan for ‘safe zone’ free of ISIS in northern Syria