Berlusconi calm about immunity ruling

12th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday he was relaxed on the eve of a Constitutional Court ruling on an immunity law that has allowed the Italian prime minister to escape criminal prosecution.

"It really does not matter to me whether these trials are stopped or not," Berlusconi told reporters in Berlin following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"I find the case laughable," he said, adding he had already "sworn on the lives of (his) children and grandchildren" that he was innocent.

"As I have promised, I will explain to the Italian people on television what this is all about," he said.

A temporary law adopted last year prevented Berlusconi from facing prosecution while he was in power, an arrangement that has angered the opposition.

The court will Thursday rule on whether this is in line with the constitution, amid reports the 15 judges are split on the issue, with eight favouring an annulment of the law and seven in favour.

If the Constitutional Court scrapped the law entirely, two trials against Berlusconi that have been effectively frozen by the legislation would re-start.

The first is for alleged tax fraud by Berlusconi's Mediaset business empire and the second is for suspected bribery in a trial against the prime minister.

However, given the divisions among the judges, the most likely outcome is a compromise.

The most likely compromises being reported are one which would excuse Berlusconi from appearing in court only when he is involved in high-level meetings and another that would allow judges to decide on a case-by-case basis.

"The stability of the government is not endangered by the Constitutional Court's decision," Berlusconi said.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article