Berlusconi pledges to fight on

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Copy of IOL pic aug5 italy berlusconi speech Associated Press Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Rome -

Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi vowed in an interview published on Monday not to bow out of politics even if he is kicked out of Parliament because of a tax fraud conviction.

Members of the Senate were due to vote on Berlusconi's ejection on November 27 on the basis of a law that excludes convicted lawmakers from Parliament.

“It will be a boomerang for the left,” the conservative leader told the Italian edition of the Huffington Post website. “I will remain on the field, stronger and more determined than before.”

On Sunday, the deputy leader of Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party, Angelino Alfano, urged him to keep supporting the grand coalition government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta even if he is expelled from the Senate.

Berlusconi insisted he could not accept that outcome - seen as likely because the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the PDL's main coalition partner - has no intention of letting the scandal-prone politician keep his parliamentary seat.

The PDL leader repeated threats to withdraw support from the Letta government if the PD proceeded with his “political assassination.” He claimed to be a victim of an unconstitutional probity law because it penalises people for crimes committed before the law entered into force.

If Berlusconi were to ditch Letta, he would likely trigger a split in his party. Hardliners loyal to him are ready to move to the opposition, adopting the old name of Forza Italia, which means Go, Italy, at a party meeting scheduled for Saturday.

Without Berlusconi, Letta was expected to be able to survive in office, thanks to the support of Alfano and his allies, who may break ranks from the PDL-Forza Italia. But the premier would be left with a small majority, making his government more unstable. - Sapa-dpa

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