Italian lawmakers begin talks on Berlusconi expulsion
ROME (AFP) - Italian lawmakers on Monday began hearings to decide whether Silvio Berlusconi should be expelled from Parliament following his criminal conviction in an unprecedented case that has stoked political tensions.
Berlusconi's defiance over the possible sanction is unique in Europe's recent political history and threatens the coalition between his People of Freedom (PDL) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).
As the eurozone's third biggest economy struggles to exit a recession that has led to record unemployment, the 76-year-old former prime minister and billionaire tycoon has once again taken the political centre stage.
A Senate committee began its meeting to discuss his ejection, even though stalling tactics from Mr Berlusconi's supporters could drag the process on for months before a compulsory final Senate vote.