The future of the Italian coalition government hangs in the balance with allies of Silvio Berlusconi threatening to bring it down if the Senate votes to expel the former prime minister following his tax fraud conviction in August.
A special committee is due to meet on Monday to decide on the future of the billionaire media tycoon.
Senators from his People of Freedom Party have said Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s administration could not continue because they would withdraw their support.
Speaking on Wednesday Maurizio Gasparri, a high profile member of Berlusconi’s party explained that the expulsion would be “political prejudice” and is “anti-constitutional”. He added that it’s been “acknowledged by several experts” and “not only by members” of his party. “It could create a political a totally unmanageable situation.”
It’s been reported in Italy that lawyers for Silvio Berlusconi have been seeking a pardon from Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, however in order for that to take place the former prime minister would have to accept his sentence as valid.
Prime Minister Letta has repeatedly said he is not threatened by Berlusconi’s legal battles.
Rosy Bindi from the governing Democratic Party has said that if the “People of Freedom party decide to withdraw support for the government” they would not “look for individual deputies in order to survive”.
Berlusconi’s lawyers have also sought to make the law, which permits his expulsion, declared unconstitutional.
The political future of Italy – a country stuck in recession and struggling to control its public debt – once again looks in doubt.