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Berlusconi nears immunity from prosecution

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Berlusconi nears immunity from prosecution

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Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has cleared another hurdle, in his bid to stay out of court. The lower house of Parliament has approved a draft law, granting him and other top officials, immunity from prosecution. The measure will now go to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass. If it does, it will stop all trials against Berlusconi, as well as the President and the two Speakers of Parliament, for the duration of their terms.

The Italian Prime Minister is currently a defendant in a corruption trial in Milan. He is accused of giving close to 400,000 euros to a British lawyer, in exchange for false testimony. Berlusconi insists he is innocent.

The opposition leader, Walter Veltroni, reprimanded parliamentarians, saying they should not devote time to laws concerning the Prime Minister. They should instead deal urgently with measures involving salaries and old-age pensions.

On Tuesday, thousands of people took to the streets in Rome, to protest against the upcoming legislation. The head of a small opposition party also vowed to activate a referendum to repeal the law, if it is passed.