Italy's president rules out pardon for Berlusconi
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has no intention of granting Silvio Berlusconi a pardon, the office of the head of state said Sunday, three days before a Senate vote on the former premier's expulsion, dpa reported.
Italy's upper chamber is expected to kick out Berlusconi, on account of a probity law which excludes convicted lawmakers from parliament. The conservative leader has been found guilty of tax fraud and is due to serve one year doing community service.
Napolitano's press office told the ANSA news agency that "conditions have not arisen" to grant Berlusconi a pardon. It also criticized the scandal-prone politician's inflammatory remarks from a day earlier.
Berlusconi's statements and actions were described as "extremely serious, outrageous in tone and content." He was urged to keep his protests "within the bounds of institutional respect and normal and dutiful legality."
Speaking at a party rally on Saturday, Berlusconi compared his conviction and looming Senate expulsion to a "coup d'etat" and "political homicide." He charged that it would be "ridiculous and unacceptable" for him to do community service.
He indicated that he had no intention to apply for a presidential pardon, because it would offend his "dignity," but nevertheless urged Napolitano to grant him one "without a moment's hesitation." His party also announced a street protest on the day of the Senate vote.
In August, days after Berlusconi was convicted, Napolitano said he would examine "objectively and rigorously" any pardon request, implying that he would not act unless Berlusconi specifically applied for clemency.
There has never been any suggestion that the 77-year-old Berlusconi would go to jail over his tax fraud conviction, because of lenient sentencing rules for people aged 70 or older. Authorities, however, have stripped him of his passport.
Deprived of parliamentary immunity, he could face arrest if accused of fresh crimes. Prosecutors in Milan are already due to probe allegations that he bribed witnesses in another trial, where he was found guilty of soliciting sex from a minor and abuse of power.