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Milan court bans Silvio Berlusconi from office for two years

If approved, the former prime minister will be banned from holding office in Italy for two years after his conviction for tax fraud.

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A Milan appeals court has set a time limit barring former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi from seeking public office for two years. It still needs to be approved by parliament, where Berlusconi is a member. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Silvio Berlusconi will be allowed to run for public office again in two years after a Milan appeals court determined the length of the political ban accompanying his tax fraud conviction.

The former Italian prime minister was convicted of tax fraud in August and the appeals court was asked to reconsider the original 5-year political ban after prosecutors admitted there were errors in sentencing.

That sentence upheld a previous verdict giving the 78-year-old a four-year jail term that was cut down to one year of house arrest or community service — Berlusconi's preferred option.

Lawyers for Berlusconi said they will appeal Saturday's decision and parliament, where Berlusconi is still a member, will have to approve it before it becomes final.

"It doesn't change the big picture at all," James Walston, a professor of international relations at American University of Rome told the Associated Press.

"It is a reminder to him and to the world that he is a convicted criminal, which he doesn't like being reminded of, that he will have to serve a sentence and now he has to deal with two obstacles that will seek to throw him out of office."

Berlusconi is also facing the loss of his seat if the Senate votes to oust him in compliance with a law preventing convicted felons to sit in parliament.

If he is removed from parliament, Berlusconi will no longer have immunity from criminal convictions.

He also faces jail time after being convicted this summer of having paid a minor for sex and forcing officials to cover it up.

He is allowed two appeals in that case, according to AP.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/131019/milan-court-bans-silvio-berlusconi-office-two-years