Silvio Berlusconi expelled, Italy PM says govt `stronger` now

Enrico Letta said on Wednesday that his government is stronger after the exit of the media tycoon’s Forza Italia party from the ruling coalition.

Updated: Nov 28, 2013, 18:12 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Rome: In what appeared to be adding salt to injury for the expelled leader Silvio Berlusconi, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said on Wednesday that his government is stronger after the exit of the media tycoon’s Forza Italia party from the ruling coalition.

Speaking to the reporters after a Senate vote expelled Berlusconi “with immediate effect” over his conviction for tax fraud, PM Enrique Letta said the former PM’s exit left the coalition stronger and more unified and it will be easier to implement reforms now.

"The government is stronger now because it`s more unified and cohesive," Letta said.

Riding on the support of a a group that left Berlusconi’s party earlier this month, Letta himself won a confidence vote held in the Senate over the budget.

After being expelled from the Senate, a disgraced Berlusconi told reporters that it was a “bitter day for democracy”.

"(It is) a day of mourning for democracy," said the 77 year old media tycoon, adding that his enemies were “euphoric” and "toasting" his defeat.

Berlusconi however vowed that he will remain in politics and continue a campaign from outside the office.

Berlusconi is barred from running or holding office for at least six years.

Berlusconi was sentenced to four years on a tax fraud conviction relating to the purchase of TV rights to US films on his Mediaset network, charges he continues to deny.