Senate panel votes to eject Berlusconi from parliament
Decision must be ratified by floor of Upper House04 October, 17:35
"It's worse than forecast," said the PdL's Senate whip Renato Schifani. "The script had already been written beforehand and the plot was well known, but it went beyond every limit of acceptability".
The bid to strip Berlusconi of his Senate seat has been the cause of political turmoil since the supreme court upheld a four-year tax-fraud sentence against Berlusconi - three years of which has been commuted due to an amnesty.
However, the three-time premier's attempt to sink Premier Enrico Letta's grand-coalition government over the ban was scuppered on Wednesday, when he performed an embarrassing last-minute U-turn over a confidence vote after an unprecedented party rebellion.
Berlusconi and hawks in the PdL are furious that their foes-turned-alliance partners in Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) were intent on voting for him to be ejected.
The bitterness over the vote was compounded by controversy over an offensive comment about Berlusconi posted on the Facebook page of Vito Crimi, a Senator for the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), shortly before the panel meeting.
The comment suggested the 77-year-old ex-premier could be suffering with problems with incontinence.
The page was also updated with posts during the panel hearing, but one of Crimi's assistants said they had been put there by him, not the Senator Senate speaker Pietro Grasso described Crimi's comments as "unspeakable" and opened an inquiry after PdL lawmakers called for the panel meeting to be halted.