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  • He was surely expecting it, but when the latest judiciary act involving former Premier Silvio Berlusconi arrived on Oct. 23, by all accounts it nevertheless came as una tegola in testa--a roof tile dropped on his head. This latest incrimination, which will bring Berlusconi to trial before a penal court on Feb. 11, is for vote-buying and is no less serious than the others--on the contrary. Berlusconi, already convicted of tax fraud, obviously fears time in prison, however unlikely. Coincidentally, the Italian supreme Cassations court has just cleared Sophia Loren, who did spend time in prison, for alleged tax dodging.
  • Election of a new president remained a will o' the wisp on Day Two of the vote. At 7 pm the joint parliamentary session was suspended after Romano Prodi received only 395 votes - 109 fewer than necessary to be elected to succeed Giorgio Napolitano. Behind Prodi was Stefano Rodota' with 214 votes and, farther in the distance, Anna Maria Cancellieri, who has been serving as Interior Minister under the emergency government of Mario Monti (78 votes), followed distantly by Massimo D'Alema (15). Tomorrow a new vote takes place, but at this point, no one is making any guesses as to the outcome save that new national general elections remain a serious risk, and an expensive prospect.
  • Facts & Stories
    From Italy(January 25, 2008)
    Premier Prodi quits on Thursday night after a Senate confidence vote (a parliamentary "confidence vote" is needed in Italy for a government to stay in charge) produced a widely expected defeat for his 20-month-old centre-left government