Berlusconi: I'm Not Going Anywhere

Italian PM defiant as multiple criminal cases reopen
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2009 8:08 AM CDT
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, left, gestures, as he leaves the Palazzo Grazioli residence surrounded by bodyguards and aides in Rome yesterday.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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(Newser) – Silvio Berlusconi, fighting for his political life after a court ruled he was not immune from criminal prosecution, called the ruling politically motivated and vowed to stay on as Italy's prime minister. Already weakened by sex scandals, Berlusconi will now face at least two trials, one concerning witness tampering and the other tax fraud. "I will go on. We must govern for five years, with or without the law," he said. And then, raising a clenched fist: "Viva Italia, viva Berlusconi!"

Berlusconi's approval rating hovers around 50%—not bad for a man tied up in so many scandals and leading one of Europe's most sluggish economies. Political analysts say that the prime minister, already weakened by this summer's prostitution revelations, will be even less inclined to bring forward desperately needed economic reform. "He was already a lame duck," one professor tells Reuters. "Now he will be less inclined or able to focus on any reform effort."