Berlusconi ousted in Senate committee vote


A Senate committee voted yesterday to strip former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of his seat in the Senate. The decision still has to receive full Senate approval but assuming it does then along with the recent conviction for tax fraud Berlusconi will not be permitted to stand for future elections.

Berlusconi, 77, is still appealing against other convictions and suffered a humiliating climb-down earlier this week when he was forced to support Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s government in a confidence motion. Although Berlusconi withdrew five of his ministers from the Letta government last weekend which precipitated the confidence vote it later emerged that his Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party was split over the decision and he faced a rebellion.

Many analysts are now saying that this is the beginning of the end for Berlusconi. Being deprived of his parliamentary seat and being placed under house arrest for his conviction will limit his ability to control his party. There is no obvious successor to Berlusconi although he had hinted in August that he would be happy to see his 47 year old daughter Marina Berlusconi replace him.

In 2011 Berlusconi had named Angelino Alfano as a possible successor when he made him PdL national secretary but on Wednesday Alfano led the revolt against Berlusconi which caused him to make the humiliating climb-down. Alfano, 42, may be making a bid to take over the centre-right and if he succeeds then it will mean a generation change across Italian politics.

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