Silvio Berlusconi vows to stay in politics to reform juctice system
A typically unabashed Silvio Berlusconi vowed yesterday to stay in politics to reform the very justice system that sentenced him to jail for tax fraud, but said he would not seek the premiership again.
In a rambling 50-minute speech, Berlusconi lashed out at German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel, criticised Italian Premier Mario Monti's fiscal reforms and complained that Italy was now beholden to a "dictatorship of magistrates." He announced what sounded like a political platform to undo many of the reforms Monti has instituted in the year since he replaced Berlusconi as premier.
But Berlusconi insisted he was not running for office, merely that he was launching an undefined "action" to reform Italy's justice system.
A Milan court on Friday sentenced Berlusconi to four years in prison and barred him from public office for five years.
"I feel obliged to stay in the [political] field to reform the planet justice," he said, after branding Friday's verdict an "intolerable" political ruling.
"There are going to be consequences," declared the 67-year-old three-time prime minister who first burst on to the political scene almost two decades ago.
"I will not be presenting my candidacy, but I will remain at the side of younger people who can play and score goals," he said.
But Italy's press yesterday declared that the Berlusconi era was at a definitive end, with one observer drawing a parallel to the fate of US gangster Al Capone.