The voting was not overly clear, but the result is: Silvio Berlusconi has been expelled from Italy’s senate. The voting: 192 yes votes, 113 no, and 2 abstentions. Last minute attempts were made to delay the vote but the filibustering failed.
Despite being stripped of his seat, Berlusconi vowed today in front of his supporters in Rome to battle on, whether in or out of Italy’s parliament. He may be out of parliament as a result of his conviction for tax fraud, but he says he’s not out of politics, unless, that is, he’s arrested. In any event, Berlusconi, 77, cannot stand for election for 6 years as things stand at present.
There’s a small chance today’s result may be overturned should the European Court of Human Rights find in his favour, but for now, Berlusconi has been assassinated politically, as he himself put it.
Technically, all Italy’s senate has done is to remove a convicted criminal from its ranks. Doing so, claimed one of Berlusconi’s supporters, would set a dangerous precedent – indeed, a dangerous precedent for convicted criminals.
For once, the rule of law presided over the rule of politics in Italy. It was a good day for honest Italians.
Now Berlusconi is out, maybe Italy can introduce some much needed, concrete, reforms. We’ll see.
The reaction of Italy’s financial markets tomorrow will be interesting, as will the effect of Berlusconi’s removal on the dreaded spread.