Italy’s prime minister seems likely to benefit from a vote in parliament’s lower house which will end one of the four trials pending against him.
Amid anger from the opposition benches, the bill was passed by 18 votes. The idea is to reduce the load on an overburdened judicial system by cutting the length of trials. In some cases, this will cancel them altogether.
Antonio Di Pietro, leader of Italia Dei Valori, said: “There used to be two kinds of defendants: ones who decided to escape the country like Bettino Craxi; the others who would come to court to face the charges. Berlusconi has invented a third kind: the one who comes to parliament and changes the law.”
Berlusconi supporters such as Fabrizio Cicchitto were equally vocal saying: “Let me tell you, we will not be judged by the people in the piazzas, the people on the streets. And we tell you, we have no inferiority complex like you lot!”
Berlusconi will still face three other trials including the case involving an under-age nightclub dancer. But for many of his supporters, the scandal-prone premier can do no wrong.
Berlusconi also confirmed on Wednesday that he would not seek to run in elections after his current term in office comes to an end in 2013.