Berlusconi may use sympathy wave to avoid corruption trial

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Rome (Italy), Dec.22 (ANI): Embattled Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may use the sympathy wave arising out of a December 13 attack on himself as a useful means of dividing the opposition, rebuilding his popularity, and manipulating the country's judicial system.ow recuperating from injury at his home in Arcore, Italy, Berlusconi has begun strategising for dealing with his divorce by his wife, accusations of corruption in two long-standing trials, and alleged to have slept with a prostitute at his palazzo in Rome.

The attack he sustained last Sunday when a man with a history of mental illness smashed a cheap but hefty souvenir model of Milan's famous cathedral into his face, could turn out to be an early Christmas gift.

Sympathy for Berlusconi in the wake to the assault, which left him with a broken nose and two cracked teeth, is expected to prove a useful means of dividing the opposition.

"I think the effect will be as much psychological as practical," the Christian Science Monitor quoted Prof. Christopher Duggan, a Mussolini biographer and the head of modern Italian history at Britain's Reading University, as saying.

"It is already very difficult for newspapers to be openly critical of the government because journalists fear for their careers, and sympathy for Berlusconi will make it even more difficult for his opponents to speak out," he added.

Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party wants to introduce a revised law, which would reinstate his immunity, with a bill to be presented to parliament this week.

The government also wants to introduce a new law, which would limit the duration of trials to six years. According to Italy's magistrates' association, it could put an end to up to 100,000 trials, which are slowly making their way through the country's ponderous judicial system.

Either of the measures would enable Berlusconi to wriggle out of two corruption trials, which were reactivated after the immunity law was quashed. (ANI)

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