On Aug 1st former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was handed his first definitive criminal conviction after more than twenty years of legal battles, resulting in a four-year jail term and a ban from public office.
According to a 2006 amnesty law, the sentence has already been cut down to one year, and owing to Mr Berlusconi’s age it will be served through house arrest or community service.
During the final appeal hearing the prosecutors have argued that the public office ban should be reduced to three years from the initial five. The judges have decided that a new process should be held in order to define the length of the ban and it will begin on next October in Milan.
Meanwhile the Italian Senate will have the final word over the ban of one of its members. Before reaching a verdict on this subject, a special Senate Parliamentary Immunities Committee will analyse the issue and give its non-binding opinion to the Parliament itself.
The parliamentary committee has begun dealing with the matter last week and a vote is expected for this Wednesday. A resolution proposed by the committee’s speaker – a member of Mr Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) – states that Mr Berlusconi cannot be banned from the Parliament.
The Democratic Party (PD), Mr Grillo’s 5 Star Movement (M5S) and former Prime Minister Mario Monti’s Civic Choice (SC) will vote against it.
The following step will have the president of the committee appointing a new speaker – likely from any party but the PDL – who will issue a new resolution with the opposite statement of the previous one.
At this stage it’s highly likely that the resolution will be approved and technically Mr Berlusconi’s election will be officially challenged by the committee.
Mr Berlusconi will then have five days to submit additional evidence which will be evaluated in a public session scheduled within ten days from the last panel vote. The committee will meet one last time and within twenty days it will transmit to the Parliament its non-binding verdict.
The Speaker of the Senate will then have to choose the date in which, by secret ballot, MPs will decide on Berlusconi’s ouster.