Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi might lose immunity

Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi might lose immunity

During the summer of 2008, Italian opposition party Italia Dei Valori lead by Antonio Di Pietro asked the population to sign a petition calling for a referendum against the Lodo Alfano immunity law, issued by Italian Neo-Liberal government.

The law was implemented to save prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and Italy's four most senior office holders from being persecuted for corruption and other crimes. Petition signing points were placed over several Italian cities and they were promptly attended by hundreds of thousands of residents holding ID cards and making the initiative a great success.

The petition contains approximately 1 million signatures, which are twice as many as are needed under Italian law to force a referendum on the issue. The signatures have to be checked before a national referendum can be called, such a process might take three or four months. They were already submitted to systematic control, and that is why any objection by the Higher Justice Court is thought as impossible.

Some of the crimes Mr Berusconi is accused of (whose trials were suspended following the immunity legislation) include bribery. He allegedly paid his English friend, tax lawyer David Mills (the estranged husband of Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell) to keep quiet in court about some of his fraudulent affairs. Mr Mills is accused of accepting £350,000 from Mr Berlusconi in exchange for giving false testimony during two trials in the late 1990s.

Eventually we might witness the end of the embarrassing plight of Berlusconi’s government that has been afflicting Italian, and indirectly European, politics for far too many years.

Posted By

Jan 9 2009 21:15


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