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 8:31 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
James Dawes: Evil is the strongest word we have to prepare ourselves to kill others.
updated 9:59 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
As protests over the shooting of an unarmed black teen calmed down, the question remains: Where's the police officer who pulled the trigger?
updated 5:22 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
CNN's Tim Lister: Getting rid of ISIS will be tougher than taking on al Qaeda.
updated 8:42 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
American patients infected with Ebola are being released from the hospital. What now?
updated 6:48 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
One of the first observers at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine describes the harrowing scene.
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid gestures during the UEFA Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Sevilla at Cardiff City Stadium on August 12, 2014 Cardiff, Wales.
"We are like one grain of sand against a whole beach," says Eibar fan Unai Eraso.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 6:22 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
From fierce protests in Ferguson, to an Ebola survivor discharged from a hospital in Atlanta, browse through the photos of the week.
ADVERTISEMENT