Italy

Berlusconi's Party Wreaks Political Havoc in Italy

Shuts down parliament over his possible ban from holding office

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Silvio Berlusconi's party boycotted a summit of Italy's fragile coalition government and blocked parliamentary activity on Wednesday in protest against a supreme court decision to fast track a ruling that could ban him from public office.

Legislative activity in both chambers of parliament was suspended for a day because of the protest by Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party, one of the two main partners in Enrico Letta's left-right coalition government.

The court decision has aggravated tension in the squabbling coalition which was already under fire for the slow pace of reforms desperately needed to boost recovery from the worst recession since World War Two.