Written by Bella Dalima
27 Nov, 2013 | 10:59 pm
Silvio Berlusconi suffered arguably the heaviest blow of his political career on Wednesday when the upper house of parliament voted to oust him following a conviction for tax fraud.
A hostile front of the centre-left and anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) voted against the former prime minister, who pulled his Forza Italia party from Enrico Letta’s governing coalition and into opposition on Tuesday.
Berlusconi was not present for the Senate vote. But shortly before the chamber approved his expulsion he gave a defiant address to supporters outside his residence in central Rome, declaring that he would remian on the political scene.
Berlusconi, who resigned as PM in late 2011 amid concerns over Italy’s growing financial instability, received his first definitive conviction in 20 years of legal battles on 1 August. He was sentenced to four years in prison, commuted to one year of community service.
The debate over the parliamentary ramifications of the conviction has dominated the national political scene for the past four months. The 77-year-old media magnate has issued alternate pleas and threats in an attempt to avoid being stripped of his seat under a law passed last year – with the support of his then party, the Freedom People – which stipulates that MPs convicted of serious criminal offences must be ineligible for parliament.
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