'Pardon wouldn't save Berlusconi's Senate seat'

Clemency would cover crime not ban says immunity panel head

'Pardon wouldn't save Berlusconi's Senate seat'

Rome, August 14 - A presidential pardon for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's tax-fraud conviction will not affect next month's vote on stripping the ex-premier of his Senate seat, the head of the Senate immunity panel said Wednesday. A pardon would cover the one-year conviction for the crime but not the accompanying six-year ban from office, Dario Stéfano of the leftwing SEL party said. The Senate is expected to eject Berlusconi, rocking the fragile left-right coalition that depends on his support. President Giorgio Napolitano cheered Berlusconi supporters by saying he might consider a pardon Tuesday night but stressed the three-time premier and media magnate must spend the year under house arrest or doing community service.

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