Rome

Berlusconi 'not giving up' center-right leadership

Pending office ban not a threat, ex-premier tells supporters

Berlusconi 'not giving up' center-right leadership

Rome, August 19 - Three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi said Monday his leadership of the centre right would not be threatened by his first definitive criminal conviction earlier this month and a ban from office. "I'm resisting! I'm not giving up," Berlusconi told supporters on his Facebook page. "Rest assured that I am not stepping aside, I will remain the head of the center right. I will pursue the interests of Italians and the country until the very end. Go forth with courage". Berlusconi's tax-fraud conviction came with a four-year jail term that, due to an amnesty, was commuted to one year of either community service or house arrest, something the ex-premier and sitting Senator must decide in October. The supreme Cassation Court decision also came with a six-year ban from public office, which must be ratified in the Senate next month before it becomes effective. Given the center left's majority in the Upper House of parliament, the ban is expected to be upheld.

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