Skip to main content

Italian Senate votes to expel Berlusconi

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Hada Messia, CNN
updated 3:20 PM EST, Wed November 27, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Senate votes to eject former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
  • He was convicted of tax fraud involving his Mediaset TV firm
  • Berlusconi pulled his party out of a coalition government Tuesday
  • Political wranglings cast a further shadow on Italy's struggling economy

Rome (CNN) -- The Italian Senate voted Wednesday to expel former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi from parliament after his conviction for tax fraud. The vote was 192 to 113, with two abstentions.

Analysts had predicted his ouster, with both the center-left Democratic Party and anti-establishment Five-Star Movement promising to vote against the 77-year-old billionaire media tycoon.

The vote follows Berlusconi's conviction on charges related to a vast tax fraud conspiracy at his Mediaset television empire.

Berlusconi was convicted of tax evasion last October, sentenced to four years in prison and barred from public office for two years. The prison time was later reduced to one year of community service.

The former PM had called on his supporters to protest in Rome ahead of the vote. He even asked senators to delay the ballot, claiming to have new evidence proving he did not commit tax fraud.

Berlusconi, who served on and off as prime minister between 1994 and 2011, has dominated the lively Italian political scene for the past two decades. Despite his expulsion from parliament, he is unlikely to disappear.

"He is not out of politics, he is out of government," James Walston, chairman of the International Relations Department at the American University of Rome, told CNN. "He will cease being Sen. Berlusconi."

The former Prime Minister could face other headaches. The expulsion from parliament means losing a partial immunity senators hold from prosecution, and he could face charges in other cases. For years, he has also been entangled in fraud, corruption and sex scandals that have often reached the Italian courts.

At a news conference Tuesday, Berlusconi's lawyers dismissed as "an absolutely unreal possibility" that he could face further criminal charges for other cases.

Berlusconi was convicted of tax fraud in October last year over deals involving Mediaset, and the verdict was upheld in August.

READ: Berlusconi: Italy's most colorful, controversial public figure

READ: Silvio Berlusconi sentence: Is this the end for 'Il Cavaliere'?

AMANPOUR EXPLAINS: Berlusconi turns Italy into a political Circus Maximus

Editors' Note: This article has been edited to remove plagiarized content after CNN discovered multiple instances of plagiarism by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, a former CNN news editor.

CNN's Hada Messia reported from Rome, and Marie-Louise Gumuchian reported from London.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 7:53 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT