Berlusconi: Expulsion bid threat to Italian democracy
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hong Kong protest leader Wong an unlikely icon
- Dozens killed in bombing attack on Nigerian mosque
- Russian doctors rebel over health reform
- After 2,000 years, China finally will end state monopoly on salt
- U.S. military shifts strategy to smaller Iraq force
- Ukraine aims to ride reform to European Union
- Lack of money may crush ISIS
- Egypt’s fixation on dictator Mubarak trial wanes
- OPEC to maintain crude oil output target
- Zambia’s interim president sub-Saharan Africa’s only white leader
- 2 Israelis die in separate knife attacks by Palestinians