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
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links