28 Oct 2012

Withdrawal of support for PM threatened

9:04 am on 28 October 2012

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has threatened to withdraw the Freedom Party's parliamentary support for the government of Mario Monti.

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has threatened to withdraw the Freedom Party's parliamentary support for the government of Mario Monti.

Berlusconi was on Friday sentenced to prison for four years for tax fraud. He is expected to appeal.

Berlusconi said the cabinet was leading Italy into a "spiral of recession" and that the PDL party would decide in the coming days whether it would end its support.

The BBC reports the PDL is the largest party in parliament and such a move could trigger early elections.

The last election was held in 2008 and the next is due next year.

Earlier on Saturday, Mr Berlusconi said that despite his conviction he felt "obliged" to stay in politics.

He said he wanted to "reform the justice system so that what happened to me doesn't happen to other citizens".

"Ours is not a democracy but a dictatorship of the judges," he said.

However, the BBC reports he confirmed he did not want to stand for prime minister.