(see related stories) Rome, January 21 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi has said he is going to drop some senior members of his People of Freedom (PdL) party who are linked to criminal cases from his list of candidates for parliament for next month's elections. Berlusconi said at the weekend that it made him feel "bad" to ask the politicians not to stand, as none of them had received a definitive criminal conviction. Among the candidates who will not stand are Senator Marcello Dell'Utri, a former close aide of Berlusconi's who is on trial for alleged links to the Mafia. Another is former industry minister Claudio Scajola, who is on trial over a shady real-estate deal regarding a house bought for him near the Colosseum in Rome by a businessman. He is also probed for alleged corruption concerning Brazilian contracts for Italian defence giant Finmeccanica. Marco Milanese, a PdL MP and a former consultant for ex-economy minister Giulio Tremonti, said Monday he would not run for parliament. Milanese is implicated in several probes. Berlusconi also mentioned another MP, Alfonso Papa, who is suspected of conspiracy in the so-called P4 inquiry looking into bribery and corruption at a top level. But Papa said Sunday he had no intention of withdrawing his candidacy. The former head of the PdL in Campania, Nicola Cosentino, is reportedly resisting pressure for him not to stand as well. Cosentino, a former economy undersecretary, is set to go on trial for allegedly helping the Casalesi clan of the Naples Camorra mafia invest in a shopping mall near Caserta. According to media reports, PdL Secretary Angelino Alfano has been pushing hard for the party's lists to be purged of candidates linked to criminal cases. Berlusconi has said Alfano will be premier if the centre right wins the election and he will be economy minister. The PdL has been among the parties to be hit hardest by a series of corruption probes over the last year, with scandals forcing centre-right regional administrations in Lazio and Lombardy to collapse in 2012. photo: Marcello Dell'Utri.
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di Giovanni Pastore