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Berlusconi Ousted from Italian Parliament

  • VOA News

The Italian parliament has ousted three-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi from the lawmaking body, but the tenacious billionaire has vowed to continue his involvement in politics.

The Senate voted Wednesday to kick him out of parliament because of a tax fraud conviction.

Berlusconi addressed his rallying supporters Wednesday outside his Roman palazzo, telling them it is "a day of mourning for democracy." He said he would remain on Italy's political scene despite losing his role as a lawmaker.

The former prime minister also faces convictions for having sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his powers while serving as prime minister. He insists on his innocence and has appealed.

Berlusconi still has loyal followers in the Senate, but the controversy following him has re-shaped the power balance of the multi-party legislature. His one-time political ally, Angelino Alfano, split from Berlusconi earlier this month and formed a new center-right party loyal to Prime Minister Enrico Letta's coalition government.

Some members of the public were glad to see Berlusconi go, such as Roman citizen Stefano De Cave.

"I hope he can get out of Italian people's lives, and let someone else to represent for us. He didn't satisfy Italian people's needs during his time at the office. Italy's GDP slumped for 10 percent under his useless government. He can hardly find any excuses with this statistics," said De Cave.

The flamboyant businessman still has loyal followers among some of the populace, however. Roman citizen Annamaria Mauro on Wednesday defended him, telling a reporter he is "an honorable man."

"Silvio Berlusconi is an honorable man. He did a lot of good things for Italian people. And he helped us in many ways using his powerful influence. But no one talk about it right now," said Mauro.

Berlusconi is expected to be placed under house arrest or ordered to perform community service for his convictions.
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