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Berlusconi's European elections hope dashed

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Berlusconi's European elections hope dashed
Silvio Berlusconi will not be able to run in the upcoming European Parliament elections. Photo: AFP
13:34 CET+01:00
Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's former prime minister and convicted criminal, has had his hopes of competing in the upcoming European Parliament elections dashed by European Justice Minister Viviane Reding, who said his election bid “won't be happening”.

Berlusconi, who is banned from running for office in Italy and Europe, has been fighting his conviction for tax fraud at the European Court of Human Rights.

But despite this impediment, his political advisor Giovanni Toti said last week that he was “certain that Berlusconi will be a candidate” when Europeans go to the polls on May 22nd-25th.

“Berlusconi has led Forza Italia in all elections. I think that it will be the same this time. Europe is living in a great period of change and all the national delegations should make their contribution,” Toti said in a statement on Forza Italia's website.

READ MORE HERE: Berlusconi will run in European elections

But in comments published by the news agency Ansa on Monday, Reding said Berlusconi is not eligible to stand in the continent’s elections.

"I will not go into laws at the national level. But European law is very clear on this," she said.

Berlusconi was thrown out of the Italian Senate late last year following the conviction. The 77-year-old’s age saves him from prison, so judges will in instead rule in April on whether he should serve the sentence, which was reduced from four years to one, under house arrest or doing community service.

Berlusconi has also had his passport confiscated so in recent months has been prevented from travelling to other EU countries.

He is also embroiled in other cases, including an appeal against a seven-year term for paying an underage prostitute for sex.

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