PdL heavyweight sees govt end if PD ejects Berlusconi

Ban must be weighed by Constitutional Court first says Schifani

PdL heavyweight sees govt end if PD ejects Berlusconi

Rimini, August 19 - A prominent member of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party said Monday it would sink the government if its partner the Democratic Party (PD) votes to eject the ex-premier from the Senate after his recent tax-fraud conviction. Former Senate Speaker Renato Schifani said a ban from office resulting from the conviction must be examined by the Constitutional Court before its application is considered. If the PD rules this out it would show a "prejudicial attitude that can only lead to a political rupture," said Schifani. "Co-existence would be impossible", he said. The Senate, where the PD holds a majority, is set to vote on ratifying Berlusconi's ban next month. The PdL has been in an unnatural alliance with old foes the PD for 100 days after a two-month stalemate following inconclusive February elections. Berlusconi received a four-year sentence for tax fraud at his media empire, commuted to one because of an amnesty, on August 1. It was his first definitive conviction in more than 20 cases.

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