Rome

Meeting between Berlusconi, MPs 'called off'

Move signals cooling tempers amid threats to bring down govt

Meeting between Berlusconi, MPs 'called off'

(see related) Rome, September 10 - A meeting between ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and MPs from his People of Freedom (PdL) party scheduled Wednesday has been called off, PdL sources told ANSA Tuesday, signaling cooling tempers amid threats from the center right to bring down the government over the three-time premier's pending ban from office. A Senate panel was due to resume deliberations late Tuesday over whether to bar Berlusconi from the upper house after he was convicted last month for tax fraud in the supreme Court of Cassation, his first binding sentence in nearly 20 years of legal entanglements. The PdL said it would bring down the left-right coalition it co-governs with the Democratic Party (PD) if the Senate panel denies its motions to forestall proceedings pending an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. The PD-dominant committee, which is expected to vote down the motions, may delay the vote Tuesday in order buy time, according to media reports.

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