Silvio Berlusconi vows to remain active in politics as opponents vote down last-ditch attempt to save his senate seat

The three-time prime minister claimed 'I have committed no crime. I am innocent. I am completely innocent' in a video rant

Milan

Disgraced ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi this evening vowed to remain active in politics just hours before opponents in the senate cleared another key hurdle in their quest to have him expelled from parliament.

Under anti-corruption law, the three-time prime minister lost his right to hold a seat when last month the Supreme Court upheld his conviction for tax fraud.

Andrea Augello, a Berlusconi supporter on the Senate committee, had proposed a last-ditch measure to confirm the tycoon's seat in the upper chamber. But at 10pm tonight Mr Berlusconi's centre-left opponents voted down the recommendation.

As a result, the membership committee will meet again and almost certainly call for his expulsion. If this happens, their recommendation will be put to the whole upper chamber, where the former-prime Minster's opponents are also in the majority, in mid-October.

Berlusconi supporters have in the past weeks threatened to bring down the fragile left-right coalition government if his opponents failed to halt their campaign to expel him. These threats have died down now, with Berlusconi's conservative Pdl (People of Freedom) party perhaps fearing it might suffer the backlash for the resulting political instability.

And with an additional ban on holding public office due to kick in soon as a part of his tax-fraud sentence, the 76-year-old mogul appears to have accepted that his days in parliament are probably numbered.

As is often the case when he feels under siege, Mr Berlusconi this evening broadcast a long, presidential-style video. “I will always be with you, at your side, expelled from parliament or not. It is not the parliamentary seat that makes a leader,” the tycoon said.

A TV viewer who'd spent the previous twenty years on Mars, might have concluded from the video rant, that he or she was watching the head of state, rather than a convicted criminal who was weeks away from a year of house arrest or community service meted out to him for tax fraud.

Most Italian viewers, however, would have been used to attacks on the left and the supposedly politically-motivated judges who convicted him contained in the 16-minute broadcast.

For those who didn't get the point, at one stage the billionaire articulated, with increasing volume: “I have committed no crime. I am innocent. I am completely innocent.”

Mr Berlusconi was further enraged by the supreme court's decision yesterday to confirm the huge, €500 million payment that his Fininvest holding company must make to a rival group to compensate it for the corrupt means it employed to win a key take-over battle: one of Berlusconi's lawyers bribed a judge.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Health & Safety Consultant

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic and exciting opport...

Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'