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Berlusconi case grinding work to a halt

ROME — Tensions in Italy’s uneasy ruling coalition increased Wednesday as the government’s allies denounced an accelerated date for a high court decision that could see former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi banned for years from public office.

Although Berlusconi isn’t in the government himself, steady support from his center-right People of Freedom party is necessary to keep Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s 10-week-old government alive.

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But Berlusconi’s allies hobbled Parliament’s work following the Court of Cassation’s decision to schedule an appeal in the media mogul’s tax fraud trial for July 30, months earlier than expected.

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