Berlusconi's no. 2 pleads to not unseat ex-premier
'We ask the PD to reflect on the situation' says Alfano22 August, 12:24
The appeal follows a tense, failed tete-a-tete late Wednesday between Alfano and Premier Enrico Letta, of the PD, in a last-ditch bid to avert the end of the shaky right-left government alliance over the media mogul's legal troubles and a pending ban from office.
The two leaders came to agreement over proposed economic measures, but not over the critical question of the three-time premier's political future. "We ask very clearly that the PD reflect, removing themselves from the historic animosity of these past 20 years and reflect on the opportunity to vote no to Berlusconi's disqualification," Alfano said at a meeting in Rimini, a city on the Adriatic coast. Alfano added he was "very worried" by what he saw as "preventative justice by the PD".
"There are independent legal experts, even in the cultural left, who maintain a basic principle for all democratic legal systems - that punitive, afflictive laws, both administrative and criminal, are not applied retroactively," Alfano said.
"We reiterate our request to the PD". In the two-hour meeting Wednesday, Alfano told Letta that the PdL could not contemplate staying in the cabinet if the centre left votes his party leader out of the Senate. "I will not accept blackmail or ultimatums," said Letta after the meeting adjourned in an apparent stalemate. The Senate is set to vote September 9 on stripping three-time premier and media magnate Berlusconi of his place in the upper house according to a new anti-corruption law that kicked in after his August 1 conviction for tax fraud, his first definitive sentence in almost 20 years of battles with magistrates he accuses of left-wing bias.
Renato Schifani, the PdL's Senate whip, said Thursday the party did not "intend to pull the plug on the government," but insisted that the PD reconsider the law that would have Berlusconi ejected from parliament. The PdL claims subjecting Berlusconi to the law, passed by Mario Monti's previous government with backing from the PD and PdL, would breach the Constitution because it would allegedly be applied retroactively.