After 19 years in parliament and nine years as prime minister, it looks like the end of the road for Silvio Berlusconi. Today Italy’s Senate voted to expel the 77-year-old billionaire due to his conviction of tax fraud last year. At a rally with supporters, the former prime minister, with typical bluster, called it “a day of mourning for democracy.”
The vote strips Berlusconi of his immunity to arrest, although most expect him to serve only a year of community service for the fraud conviction. But there are plenty of other legal cases pending against Berlusconi, who is now barred from holding office for six years.
Of course, Berlusconi has been counted out many times before. And having only relaunched and rebranded his political party last month, he is unlikely to fade away from the political scene completely. That, at least, is the hope among photojournalists, who have counted on the colorful, controversial at at times cartoonish figure for a steady stream of striking shots over the years. For others, too, the main reason to be sorry Silvio Berlusconi is leaving parliament is the photos. Here are a few:
Berlusconi attends a session at the Senate in Rome on Mar. 16.
Berlusconi listens to remarks by former US president George W. Bush in Dallas on Apr. 25.
Berlusconi gestures as he appears as a guest on a television show on Jan. 9.
Berlusconi next to Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner during the G20 Summit on Nov. 3, 2011.
Italy’s economy minister Giulio Tremonti arrives to attend a news conference with Berlusconi on Aug. 12, 2011.
Berlusconi is helped by police after he was attacked in Milan on Dec. 13, 2009. He was hit by a small model of a Milan cathedral hurled at him during a political rally.
Reuters/Livio Anticoli/Italian Prime Minister's Press Office
Berlusconi greets US president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Sep. 24, 2009.
Berlusconi wears a railwayman’s hat as he speaks to journalists at the Termini rail station in Rome on Mar. 24, 2009.
Berlusconi with Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan during a news conference on Nov. 12, 2008.
Berlusconi speaks with France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel during a news conference at the Elysee Palace on Oct. 4, 2008.
Berlusconi jokes with US President George W. Bush during a meeting in Rome on Jun. 12, 2008.
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini
Berlusconi plays the pirate with a knife before cutting a cake at the “No Tax Day” meeting organized by his political party on Dec. 11, 2004.
AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
Russian president Vladimir Putin presents a book about his rural lodge in Zavidovo to Berlusconi on Feb. 3, 2003.
AP Photo/Viktor Korotayev
Berlusconi addresses supporters during his electoral campaign on Mar. 19, 1996.
AP Photo/Plinio Lepri