Minister says govt not at risk after Berlusconi conviction

'Toppling cabinet unimaginable' says Mauro

Minister says govt not at risk after Berlusconi conviction

Rimini, August 20 - Italy's defence minister said Tuesday he "could not imagine anyone thinking of toppling the government". Mario Mauro, a moderate with the Civic Choice party, is formerly of the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party of Silvio Berlusconi. The PdL and the center-left Democratic Party (PD) are the majority partners in an unprecedented coalition government deemed highly volatile since its conception in April to break a two-month parliamentary deadlock following inconclusive February elections. Mauro was questioned about its stability in the wake of Berlusconi receiving earlier this month his first-ever definitive criminal conviction, this time for tax fraud, after years of legal entanglements ranging from charges of sex with a minor and abuse of office to bribing a lawmaker to topple a government. Next month the Senate must vote to ratify a six-year ban from office for his tax-fraud conviction. Berlusconi's supporters have repeatedly threatened or suggested bringing down the executive if the ban is upheld.

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