Berlusconi party moves to rejig justice system

'Not aimed at reining in magistrates'

Berlusconi party moves to rejig justice system

Rome, June 27 - Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party on Thursday filed an amendment to a Constitutional reform bill to include the justice system, a hot-button issue given the ex-premier's long-standing claim his legal woes are due to politically motivated magistrates. Justice was not initially among the areas of the Constitution set to be reviewed as part of a streamlining of government planned by Enrico Letta's left-right executive, in which Berlusconi is the junior partner. The PdL unexpectedly presented an amendment in the Senate to include it. PdL Senator Anna Maria Bernini was quick to try to allay fears that the party, which has staged several demonstrations against the judiciary, wants to bring Italy's independent magistrates to heel. She said any reform of the Constitution would entail looking at how powers are balanced. "We don't want a justice reform or a separation of careers," she claimed, referring to controversial restructuring attempted in the past by Berlusconi but shelved because of judicial strikes. The three-time premier has several legal headaches including convictions for using an underage prostitute and tax fraud at his media empire.

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