Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has ordered People of Freedom (PDL) ministers within Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s government to resign – and has called for national elections.
Berlusconi’s actions came after the Supreme Court of Cassation confirmed his conviction for fiscal fraud last month. He was given a four-year jail term and a five-year ban from public office.
A Senate commission is due to decide this week whether Berlusconi must give up his seat in Italy’s upper house of parliament.
In a recording on the Forza Italia website, Berlusconi said: “I think there is no other option but going to elections as soon as possible. We are also convinced that all the poll numbers suggest that we will win these elections.”
The former prime minister is facing an increasing amount of dissent from within his own party. His critics say the government should be focusing on the country’s problems rather than Berlusconi’s.