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Italy Senate Panel Delays Vote on Berlusconi’s Expulsion

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said, “We’re not available to keep the government going if the left decides to prevent the head of People of Liberty from remaining in politics.” Photographer: Alberto Lingria/AFP via Getty Images

Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- An Italian Senate panel that must decide whether to expel former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi delayed a vote on the issue after its first review today.

“We will meet again tomorrow at 8 p.m.,” the panel head Dario Stefano told reporters in Rome after the five-hour meeting. The 23-member panel will keep discussing legal and procedural issues outlined in a report presented today by Senator Andrea Augello of Berlusconi’s People of Liberty Party or PDL, Stefano also said.

Berlusconi’s possible expulsion following his definitive conviction for tax fraud last month threatens to fracture Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s coalition. On Aug. 30 Berlusconi said that the PDL may withdraw its support for the government if the senators of Letta’s Democratic Party vote to oust the former premier from Parliament.

Lawyers for Berlusconi appealed to the Strasbourg-based Court of Human rights to review an Italian law passed in December that bans convicted politicians from remaining in office or running for election. The appeal may affect the decision on the expulsion, panel member Lucio Malan of Berlusconi’s party told reporters earlier today.

A key vote on the expulsion in the committee may take place tomorrow, Stefano said. The full Senate will then have the final word on the matter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at ltotaro@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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