Berlusconi can stand for election, as court lifts ban

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berlusconi return.jpgAn Italian court has lifted a ban on former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi holding public office.

He was barred in 2013 after receiving a four-year sentence for tax fraud, although he never spent time in prison.

The court decision comes just days after the 81-year-old agreed to his right-wing ally, the League party, talking to the anti-establishment Five Star party about forming a government.

If talks fail and a fresh election is called, Mr Berlusconi could now stand.

Milan daily newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Saturday that Milan’s Surveillance Tribunal made the decision after reviewing a request from lawyers for the 81-year-old Berlusconi, a media mogul who founded a center-right political party a quarter-century ago.

The ban on his seeking or holding public office was due to expire in 2019. But Corriere della Sera said the tribunal ruled Friday that Berlusconi already had been “rehabilitated.”

“Silvio Berlusconi can finally return to the playing field,” Mara Carfagna, a leader of the ex-premier’s Forza Italia party. “The ‘rehabilitation’ by the Milan Surveillance Court puts an end to a judicial persecution and a cavalry that didn’t chip away at the strength of great leadership, that, in a profoundly changed political scenario, is today still fundamental and central.”

Milan Prosecutor General Roberto Alfonso said prosecutors have 15 days to decide if they will appeal the tribunal’s decision.

Source BBC, AFP, Corriere Della Sera

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