Thursday, November 28, 2013

Good riddance

Silvio Berlusconi has been expelled from the Italian Senate:

The Italian Senate has voted to expel ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi from parliament with immediate effect over his conviction for tax fraud.

Berlusconi, who has dominated politics for 20 years, could now face arrest over other criminal cases as he has lost his immunity from prosecution.

He told supporters in Rome it was a "day of mourning" for democracy.

Berlusconi has been a toxic influence on Italian politics, legislating repeatedly to protect himself and his cronies from prosecution for their crimes. Now, he's just a convicted tax fraudster, barred from office for six years. While he'll no doubt try to retain an influence through his Forza Italia party (named after a football chant - yes, Italian politics is that debased), inevitably his inability to lead a government will see that influence decline. And given his age, he's unlikely to have time to make a comeback.

So, Italian politics is finally free of Berlusconi. The question is whether they can do better, or whether its Berlusconis all the way down...