The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has dismissed the loss of his legal immunity as a politically-motivated farce. Italy’s highest court said that a law passed by Berlusconi’s government protecting him from legal action violates the constitution. Berlusconi retorted that the ruling was driven by politics:
“We have a minority of leftist ‘red’ judges who use the law in their political struggle,” he said. “72 per cent of the media in Italy is left-wing. The cases against me they want to re-open are utterly false. I am going to have to spend some of my working day ridiculing my accusers. But these sort of things give me a buzz, as they do all Italians. Viva Italia, viva Berlusconi!” The Constitutional Court ruled that the immunity legislation violates the principle that all Italians are equal under the law. The prime minister’s lawyers had argued that he should be considered ‘first above equals’ but the judges rejected that. The controversial law halted all cases against Berlusconi, including one where he is accused of bribing a British lawyer to give false testimony to protect his business dealings. The leader of the opposition, Dario Franceschini said: “The Constitutional Court has simply re-established a principle that had been violated: that all Italian citizens are equal before the law. Everyone is equal before the law, even the most powerful.” The ruling comes as Berlusconi watches his until-now good approval ratings slide because of a series of sex scandals, including prostitutes being invited to parties at his home. One of the girls went public with explicit recordings of her time spent with the prime minister.