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BY SIWEN LI
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He hasn't been definitively convicted so far, but Berlusconi might be in real trouble this time. The 74-year-old Italian Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi has been under investigation since Dec. 21 2010 for allegedly paid sex with a 17-year-old prostitute - Karima El Mahroug and abusing his power to cover up his mess. (Video from Sky News)
The prosecutors in Milan said Wednesday they had "sufficient evidence" to speed up the case without preliminary hearings, meaning the prime minister could face court within weeks.
Insisting that he has only been at the service of his nation, Berlusconi responded during a press conference that he thought the prosecutors' move has a subversive aim. (Video from Telegraph)
Berlusconi: "It's just an embarrassment. It's disgusting and shameful. I don't know who is going to pay, no one will pay. In the end the state will pay because we know the magistrates don't take any responsibility." (Video from Telegraph)
France 24 reports that the charge will have negative influence on his supporters.
Josephine McKENNA: "It is no doubt that the Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi now is facing the biggest threat to his political career as prosecutors call for him to stand trial. His popularity has slipped recently and he's trying to hold together a very fragile majority in the parliament."
But Nick Squires says on The Christian Science Monitor, Berlusconi's approval rating might not be influenced too much by the indictment.
"...many Italians get their news from television channels owned by Berlusconi's Mediaset broadcasting empire, which have downplayed, or even ignored, the scandal."
His popularity might be going down, but not completely out, since he's the only credible candidate around. Political analyst Roberto D'Alimonte tells Yahoo News
"One of the main reasons is a lack of clear alternative. On the other side, there is not a single credible coalition, there is not a single credible leader and not a single credible program."
Investigating judge Cristina Di Censo will now have five days to decide if there is enough evidence to go to fast track trial on charges as prosecutors are demanding. However, Berlusconi is not worried for himself.
"The accusations are completely without proof. Everybody has seen that just brings about a negative media campaign. I've attained every goal and I'm a rich man who can spend the rest of his life building children's hospitals, which I always wanted to do." (Video from Sky News)
If Berlusconi is eventually convicted, the 74-year-old billionaire might not have the chance to do charity, but spend at least three years in jail.
So, what do you think? After weathering many crises, will Berlusconi survive this trial?
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