Rome

Uncertainty surrounds Berlusconi video message

Mystery over content, time of release

Uncertainty surrounds Berlusconi video message

Rome, September 17 - Uncertainty reigned on Tuesday over a video message Silvio Berlusconi has reportedly prepared, amid political turmoil after the supreme court upheld a tax-fraud conviction against the ex premier last month. For weeks there has been speculation that Berlusconi has prepared a message announcing his People of Freedom (PdL) was withdrawing its support from Premier Enrico Letta's left-right government. The PdL is furious its alliance partner, Letta's centre-left Democratic Party, which has said it intends to vote for Berlusconi to be stripped of his parliamentary seat on a Senate panel following the tax-fraud verdict. A key vote on the panel is set to take place Wednesday. On Monday there was speculation Berlusconi has prepared two videos ready for release. One of these was reportedly on his party, which is set to be revamped and revert to its previous name, Forza Italia. The other was thought to feature criticism of the alleged left-wing magistrates Berlusconi says are behind his conviction, allegedly as part of a plot to remove him from the political scene, and to reveal whether he intended to sink Letta's executive or not. One of these two videos was expected to be sent to broadcasters Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday's crunch meeting of the Senate panel. But according to fresh speculation, there may only be one video, shot at his home near Milan Monday, and Berlusconi may be considering re-recording it as he was not entirely satisfied with the result. The new video is expected to be released Wednesday and reportedly does not refer to the future of the government. Berlusconi is reportedly torn between the advice of hawks and doves in the PdL. The hawks say Berlusconi should scupper the executive and try to provoke fresh elections. The doves say provoking the end of the administration would have negative consequences for the country, which is trying to emerge from its longest recession in over two decades, for the PdL, and for Berlusconi himself and his business empire.

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