Berlusconi's party banned from regional ballot

A Roman administrative court on Monday denied Silvio Berlusconi's party readmission to the regional ballot in Lazio due to a missed deadline.


AFP - A Roman administrative court on Monday banned candidates running for Silvio Berlusconi's party from the ballot list in the Lazio region in key elections later this month.

Judges denied the Popolo delle Liberta' (PDL) party readmission to the election in Lazio because the list was submitted past the deadline, the ANSA news agency reported.

The decision is the latest chapter in an electoral imbroglio that Italy's president of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano called "a true mess."

Renata Polverini, running for governor in Rome's Lazio region and supported by the PDL, won readmission for her list last week thanks to a decision of an appeals court.

Polverini's list includes members of her cabinet in case of victory, while the PDL list that has been prevented from taking part in the ballot was for candidates for a spot in the regional assembly.

After frantic consultations with allies and advisors, Berlusconi called a cabinet meeting on Friday evening pushing through a decree allowing the courts to interpret voter list rules more liberally.

But the judges said the decree "cannot be applied because the Lazio region gave dispositions on electoral matters exercising the responsibility it is given by the Constitution."

Lawyers for the PDL told the press they would wait to read the full legal opinion before mulling an appeal to Italy's highest administrative court.

On Saturday a Milan court ruled to allow a list submitted by Roberto Formigoni, governor of the northwestern region of Lombardy and PDL member, initially ruled invalid because of concerns about the validity of supporting signatures.

The Italian prime minister, fighting tumbling popularity ratings has referred to the March 28-29 elections in 13 of Italy's 20 regions as a "national test" of his support.


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