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Will Berlusconi ever give up?

Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 01:51

Sept 19 - Silvio Berlusconi defiantly vows to stay at the centre of Italian politics despite his expected expulsion from parliament. Ciara Suttton asks whether the former PM's never ending presence can jeopardise Italy's political and economic stability.

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He won't retire quietly. But Berlsuconi's determination to continue in politics despite a fraud conviction hasn't convinced investors. Ashmore's Jan Dehn says the disgraced former Prime Minister is no longer a political threat in Italy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ASHMORE'S JAN DEHN, SAYING: "He is of course very flamboyant, captures a lot of headlines but he is a fraud. He is a convicted fraudster. And as such I think his credibility has finally and irrevocably been dented now and I think his political future is over." But Berlusconi is not without support. Some think he's been unfairly treated and that others in politics have done similar things. Political analyst Alessandro Politi says corruption is widespread, and even the current Prime Minister's party isn't immune to criticism. (SOUNDBITE) (English) POLITICAL ANALYST, ALESSANDRO POLITI SAYING: "The big question mark is in the Democratic Party. There have been important sectors that have practically connived with Mr. Berlusconi since, well decades, so this is something that could play a role and it is something that has been openly voiced not just you know by the opposition party but also by the PDL." Berlusconi was jailed for four years last month for a giant fraud linked to his media empire. The sentence was later reduced to a year. His age prevents him from going to jail - house arrest or community service the likely alternative. A formal expulsion from parliament is expected by the end of next month. But that won't stop him leading his centre right party, which he now plans to rebrand to appeal to younger voters. In theory that could mean yet another return from disgrace. That's a prospect which dismays many voters and could distract Italy from dealing with its still worrying economic problems.

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Will Berlusconi ever give up?

Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 01:51