The affordable education loan option
Rome - Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi was poised to hold on to his parliamentary seat for at least a few more weeks as the procedure to expel him over a tax fraud conviction was extended Tuesday.
Members of a Senate immunity committee were unable to agree on whether Italy's upper chamber should have its final say on the matter with a secret vote, following customary practice, or break with tradition and allow a public vote.
The panel adjourned to October 29, meaning that the vote, which had been expected in the coming days, would not be able to take place before then.
In August, the 77-year-old Berlusconi was handed a four-year jail term for fraudulent accounting by his family's media firm, Mediaset, in a ruling that he dismissed as ungrounded and politically motivated.
He faces losing his seat because of a probity law that excludes convicted lawmakers from Parliament. He has challenged the law as unconstitutional because it penalizes people for crimes they committed before it entered into force.
His political rivals countered that the principle of non-retroactivity, which normally holds in criminal matters, should not apply to laws setting the requirements for holding public office.
Berlusconi was never expected to go to jail because, under Italian law, people over 70 with no previous convictions are spared from prison. In addition, three years of his sentence were discounted because of a 2006 pardon law, leaving him to serve one year doing community service work.
Judges were expected to take months before deciding where and what kind of service Berlusconi would have to do.
The three-time prime minister also faces an additional ban from public office linked to his August conviction, but its duration is still to be confirmed. A Milan court was due to start considering the issue Saturday.