Silvio Berlusconi’s political future – upon which both Italian and euro zone stability rest to varying degrees – is up for debate when a Senate committee meets on Monday to begin discussions that could end with formal procedures to expel him from the Senate. Talks could last for days.
Members of Berlusconi’s centre-right PDL have threatened to walk out of Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s coalition government if a final vote – due in the Senate in October or maybe November – bars him from political life, following the upholding of his conviction for tax fraud.
One of Berlusconi’s key allies says he has already prepared a video message that could announce a decision to bring down the coalition government.
Letta’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and Beppe Grillo’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement have both rejected talk of delaying the committee decision and said they would vote to expel Berlusconi if the issue gets to a full vote. Together they have enough numbers to oust him.
There is the alternative scenario that Berlusconi is not barred from political life and the PD reacts with horror. Berlusconi’s lawyers have filed documents for an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to have the law under which he could be expelled from parliament declared invalid in his case.