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Berlusconi's FI to obstruct mafia vote-rigging bill

'It would favor a deluge of investigations' say MPs

24 March, 17:22
Berlusconi's FI to obstruct mafia vote-rigging bill (ANSA) - Rome, March 24 - The party of three-time premier Silvio Berlusconi on Monday moved to block a bill making vote rigging in collusion with the mafia a criminal offense.

Forza Italia (FI) senators posed 1,000 amendments in a bid to obstruct the bill, which has already been approved by the Lower House, saying Senate changes to the text "make it an improper weapon in the hands of those who would use it politically against a party, especially in the South".

FI pointed to amendments eliminating the term "knowingly" and adding the term "any and all" to define such vote-rigging's hypothetical "utility" to the mob. It also also objected to the fact that the Senate version would make it a crime punishable with up to 12 years in prison, the same as the already existing crime of external mafia association.

Vote-rigging in collusion with the mob "is a much more offensive crime", FI said.

Berlusconi's party went on to charge the text is "indecent" for its "unconstitutionality" as it would confer limitless powers to prosecutors, contrary to the country's charter.

"In our country the decisive element is the investigation not the conviction, and this bill would favor a deluge of investigations," said MP Francesco Paolo Sisto.