Berlusconi’s MPs are peacefully occupying a portion of the Palace of Justice in Milan as a protest against what they call the ‘judicial persecution’ of their leader.
Mr Berlusconi’s party is outraged after the Cavaliere was twice subjected to medical inspection by the panel of judges presiding the trial on the Ruby case and the Naples District Attorney’s Office asked for Berlusconi to be indicted for corrupting a senator.
Berlusconi’s supporters fear that the Naples DA’s Office could ask to the new Parliament, where the Cavaliere’s party is a minority, to sanction a warrant of arrest against the political leader. Moreover, one of the many criminal trials involving Berlusconi could finally be finished off by the Italian Supreme Court. If the Court upheld a conviction judgement, by Italian Constitution Berlusconi would lose his parliamentary immunity. Due to his age, he could not be actually jailed, but he would be probably put under house arrest.
His MPs appealed to the Italian President, who is also ex officio the President of the Higher Council of Judicature, threatening to desert the incoming sessions of the Parliament. However the Italian President, while being ceremonially the Head of the Judicial Order, has no power to interfere with judicial proceedings. He could issue a presidential pardon to Mr Berlusconi, but this possibility looks remote in the current political climate of enmity towards the political class.