Letta says fate of govt, Berlusconi are now distinct
Panel set to decide on vote to eject ex-premier from Senate30 October, 13:34
He was speaking as a Senate panel reconvened to decide the date of a floor vote on ejecting the ex-premier after a tax-fraud conviction and whether the vote should be secret, as current rules dictate, or open.
A meeting of the panel on Tuesday was adjourned after a row over whether a 2012 anti-corruption law can be applied in this case in order for the three-time Italian premier to be stripped of his seat in parliament.
Berlusconi has said it would be a "stain on Italian democracy" if he were ejected from the Senate after the supreme court ruling and has called on Letta to intervene.
Berlusconi wants the premier to declare that the anti-corruption law would be applied retroactively if used in his case. The supreme court's ruling on the tax fraud case came in August, long after the 2012 corruption law came into force, but the original conviction predates it.
Letta replied that the result of a confidence vote at the start of this month, when Berlusconi was forced to back down on a bid to withdraw the PdL's support for the executive and sink it was scuppered by a mutiny by pro-government party members, showed that the fate of the administration and the 77-year-old's legal problems were now separate. "It's necessary to separate individual judicial affairs from the action of the government," Letta said on Italian radio Wednesday.
"The response (to Berlusconi's appeal for intervention) is contained in the confidence vote of October 2".