Rome

Lower House Whip says PdL will not attend govt meetings

Berlusconi's party members threaten to halt talks

Lower House Whip says PdL will not attend govt meetings

Rome, July 10 - Lower House Whip for Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, Renato Brunetta, said that party members would not attend Italian government coalition meetings planned for Wednesday. The day after Italy's supreme Cassation Court's speedy scheduling of a final appeals trial of Berlusconi's conviction for fraud, Senators and politicians from the PdL asked for all parliamentary activity to be suspended while the group's members discuss their next moves. Brunetta said that a PdL assembly will be held because "long and detailed discussions" are needed. The supreme court on Tuesday shocked the ex-premier's defense lawyer and sparked outrage among the centre-right leader's followers by scheduling the trial date on the same day the appeal was filed - to begin in three weeks' time on July 30. PdL Senate Whip Renato Schifani has also asked for government meetings to be paused for the assembly. The appeal trial regards the media mogul's conviction on tax-dodging through the manipulation of film rights for Mediaset, a broadcasting company that is part of his family's media empire.

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