PD ex-minister says Berlusconi should be heard
Ex-premier's appeal should be considered by Senate committee28 August, 18:01
(ANSA) - Rome, August 28 - The Senate should consider arguments from ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi before considering whether to eject him from his seat, Beppe Fioroni of the Democratic Party (PD) said Wednesday.
"Italy is a state...where the laws are respected and judgments apply," Fioroni said in an interview with media outlet Formiche.net.
The rule of law means all Italians should be treated equally in legal affairs and have the right to defend themselves, he added.
Berlusconi's lawyers launched a sheaf of legal appeals and arguments Wednesday in attempts to help him avoid losing his Senate seat in a vote scheduled for Sept. 9.
Berlusconi, founder of the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, was convicted of tax fraud on August 1 and could be stripped of his seat under a new anti-corruption law.
But he is arguing, in venues including Italy's Constitutional Court, that that law kicked in after his conviction and therefore should not be applied in his case.
Fioroni said he saw merit in the arguments of other PD members that it could be useful to have the new law held up to constitutional scrutiny.
Hearing Berlusconi's appeals would also serve to demonstrate the PD is not driven by political bias.
"In Italy, the laws are respected, judgments apply as the logical consequence of that belief," he said. "If the PdL has serious elements of clarification (that) are neither subterfuge nor trivial waste of time," these should be heard, he said.