20 Ottobre 2017
Capri, October 20 - Silvio Berlusconi told young industrialists on Capri Friday that he hoped a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg expected on November 22 would lift a ban on him holding office and he would be able to stand as the centre right's premier candidate in next year's general election. If not, he said, he would be the "regista", a term meaning "director" in the film world or "playmaker" in his favourite soccer parlance, of the centre-right alliance. Ex-premier Berlusconi, leader of the centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party, is vying with anti-euro, anti-immigrant Northern League (LN) leader Matteo Salvini to lead an FI-LN coalition also featuring the small rightwing nationalist Brothers of Italy (FdI) party. In June the European Court of Human Rights said Berlusconi's appeal against a ban on him holding public office would be heard by its Grand Chamber on November 22. The Grand Chamber is usually reserved for cases that are particularly important or complex. The former premier was ousted from parliament in 2013 under the 2012 Severino Law that prevents anyone sentenced to over two years from holding or running for public office for at least six years. The law, named after then justice minister Paola Severino, kicked in after the media billionaire was handed a definitive conviction for tax fraud. The three-time former premier and media tycoon was sentenced to four years in prison for masterminding a tax-dodging strategy by his Mediaset company, commuted to one year of community service which he served between 2014 and 2015. Berlusconi argues that Italy violated European legislation by applying the 2012 law retroactively, thus imposing a harsher penalty than was applicable at the time of the crime for which he was convicted. He complained of violations of Article 7 (no punishment without law), Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) and Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (right to free elections). The Grand Chamber comprises seventeen judges, including the President and the Vice-Presidents of the Court, the Section Presidents, the national judge and other judges drawn by lot.
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