Berlusconi lawmakers to quit if ex-premier ousted

Nicole Winfield, Associated Press
Associated Press

ROME (AP) -- Italy's Senate president says nearly all the senators of Silvio Berlusconi's party have vowed to resign if the former premier is ousted from Parliament for his tax fraud conviction.

If carried out, the resignations would spark a crisis in Premier Enrico Letta's fragile, 5-month-old left-right hybrid government.

Senate President Renato Schifani told TG4 news Thursday that 87 of the 91 senators of Berlusconi's People of Freedom party had turned in letters of resignation pending the Oct. 4 vote.

Senators will decide then whether to strip Berlusconi of his seat following his tax fraud conviction and four-year prison sentence.

A 2012 law bans anyone sentenced to more than two years in prison from holding or running for public office for six years.