A court in Rome has rejected attempts by Silvio Berlusconi to get his candidates reinstated onto election lists for regional polls later this month.
A bureaucratic bungle has meant that in two of Italy’s 20 regions, documents were not submitted on time to allow for candidates of the prime minister’s People of Freedom party to be included.
Last Friday, Berlusconi’s government rushed through a decree to ensure its lists were reinstated, but yesterday’s court ruling has said the move was illegal.
However, all is not lost for Berlusconi, as the fate of the lists ultimately rests with further court rulings to determine whether the decree is valid.
But opposition groups are outraged and accuse Berlusconi of not playing by the rules and undermining democracy.
The March regional elections are being seen as a popularity test for his centre-right coalition which has been rocked by scandals over the past year.