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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 02 febbraio 2013 alle ore 09:47.

Berlusconi's lawyers, Piero Longo (L), Nicolò Ghedini (R)Berlusconi's lawyers, Piero Longo (L), Nicolò Ghedini (R)

Trials and judicial investigations have made a come-back as one of the themes of the election campaign. The scandal involving Monte dei Paschi di Siena has indirectly caused waves for the Democratic Party because of its close relationship with the bank. And yesterday we returned to the question of Silvio Berlusconi's trial: a story that has repeated itself in the last twenty years, ever since the so-called "Prima Repubblica" fell following the impact of judicial investigations. This time, however, the effect may be different: the political horizon is no longer split in two between pro-Berlusconi and anti-Berlusconi camps and the issues that capture the interest of the electorate seem to be more in line with those affecting the economy.

Yesterday in Milan the hearing for one of the three proceedings involving the Cavaliere was scheduled. The trial is about alleged irregularities in the buying and selling of Mediaset tv rights, the company owned by the Berlusconi family. The former prime minister was sentenced to four years in the first instance because he was considered the beneficiary of slush funds created through tax evasion. «In Milan there are absurd trials against me and so much money is being spent on trivial things», said Berlusconi. Rejected yesterday was a request (the third) to postpone the appeal process until after the elections. Moreover, Berlusconi's lawyers asked to recognize the "legitimate impediment" to attend the hearing, because of his involvement in the election campaign. Lawyers for Berlusconi (who in turn are MPs) left the room in protest.

Berlusconi is busy trying to improve his position in the polls that see the center-right coalition separated by 10% from the center-left. A victory that, 23 days before the election, seems to observers to be a mission impossible. Focusing on justice and "political trials" against him in the past has helped Berlusconi to gain more votes. «I think the reaction of my supporters in front of the bias shown in the courts of Milan has increased their backing for me», said the former PM. But this time round, the legal issues are likely to embarrass Berlusconi: he is particularly concerned that the trial sees him accused of extortion and under age prostitution. The story is about private parties at his residence during which a girl, then a minor, took part. Her name is Karima El Mahroug otherwise known as "Ruby". In this case, the judges rejected the request of lawyers to put off the trial until the vote on 24 and 25 February. The sentence will come only after the elections, but in the meantime, the hearings will go ahead during the days in the build-up to the election. The Cavaliere must be hoping that in the meantime the "judicial theme" in the campaign will continue to follow the investigations surrounding Monte dei Paschi di Siena.


(Traduzione di James Tierney)

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