Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been ejected from Italy’s senate after a successful conviction for tax fraud.
His seat was stripped after a vote of 192 to 113, with two no votes.
The 77-year-old multi-billionaire media tycoon, who served as Prime Minister on and off between 1994 and 2011, has ruled Italian politics for almost two decades.
He told fans he would still command his Forza Italia party. “We must stay on the field, we must not despair if the leader of the center-right is not a senator anymore,” Berlusconi told his supporters in Rome.
“There are leaders of other parties who are not parliamentarians.”
Berlusconi has courted scandal and publicity for the duration of his political life. In addition to defending himself against multiple charges of abuse of power and corruption, he became globally renowned in 2010 for his “bunga bunga” parties; filled with Italy’s bright young things.
Yet whether because of one of the world’s slowest judicial systems, or self-serving laws Berlusconi himself passed when he was Prime Minster, the man who once called himself “the most persecuted man by the judiciary in all the history of the entire world” managed to keep his record clean.
In August the High Court in Italy upheld his first definitive sentence in both first and second degree charges of tax fraud in the purchasing and selling of TV rights at his Mediaset television empire.
His four year sentence was immediately reduced to one year thanks to an amnesty law. And even now he is unlikely to serve time in prison, due to Italian laws concerning convicted felons aged over 70.
Following his conviction, he began a campaign to blackmail his way out of trouble – threatening to withdraw his party’s involvement with the fragile coalition government – to no avail.
Stripped of his immunity from the law, he is now increasingly vulnerable to a small host of other convictions.
This includes a trial from June, during which he was sentenced to seven years in prison for courting a young prostitute, and a third trial which is now underway; where he stands accused of buying a senator’s political standing.
However, as of now, both of these trials are yet to reach the definitive judgment – leaving the playing field open to further evasion, scandal, and global intrigue.