Berlusconi To Support Italian Government In Video Message – Sources
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
ROME, Reuters

Silvio Berlusconi is expected to step back from moves to bring down Italy’s government following his tax fraud conviction in an announcement on Tuesday relaunching his original party, political sources said.

Berlusconi has been threatening for weeks to torpedo the uneasy left-right coalition of Prime Minister Enrico Letta following his conviction, but the sources said dovish advisers seemed to have finally convinced him this could misfire for his centre-right PDL party.

The Berlusconi announcement is expected in a video message around midday (1000 GMT). He has already recorded the message, aides said.

Renato Brunetta, floor leader in the Chamber of Deputies for Berlusconi’s People of Freedom Party (PDL) said in a tweet that his leader “Will make a very important announcement about Forza Italia (Go Italy), aiming to inspire everybody.”

The party was the vehicle with which Berlusconi stormed into politics in 1994 after a major bribery scandal swept away the old postwar order in Italy. It was later replaced by the PDL.

A Senate committee is expected to vote on Wednesday to reject attempts to prevent Berlusconi’s ejection from parliament following a conviction for a huge fraud at his Mediaset television empire.

Some sources said on Tuesday that Berlusconi was considering resigning before a full Senate vote to expel him, but this could come in a second video message after the committee vote on Wednesday night.

Berlusconi appears to be using the resurrection of his original Forza Italia party to try to seize back the political initiative following the damaging conviction, which has condemned him either to a year’s house arrest or community service.

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