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Majority of Italians believe PM's prostitution trial will go nowhere

04-07-2011 14:11 BJT

As Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's prostitution and power abuse trial kicked-off on Wednesday, the majority of Italians told pollsters that in their view nothing will come out of it.

According to a survey issued by state television Rai, due to Italy's traditional long trial lengths, hearings postponement, absence of witnesses and crime prescription laws, 62 percent of Italian people think that the trial will go nowhere and deem it as "thin air", while 20 percent think Berlusconi is innocent and will therefore be acquitted from all charges.

A mere 7 percent of Italians consider the premier as effectively "guilty" and expect him to be condemned by the court.

The survey also highlighted that Berlusconi's judiciary problems have not greatly affected his popularity. More than 60 percent of his voters say they are satisfied with the choice made in 2008 when they voted for his center-right coalition and stress they would vote Berlusconi again in case of an early ballot.

On the other hand, over 56 percent of center-left supporters are unhappy of their 2008 electoral choice and criticize the opposition's behavior.

Berlusconi is currently charged with paying for sex with a minor, a then-17-year-old cabaret dancer called Karima el-Mahroug, nicknamed "Ruby", and then with abusing of his power as prime minister to get her out of custody over theft allegations.

Yet the first hearing on Wednesday, which lasted just 10 minutes, was below all expectations because neither Berlusconi nor his alleged "victim" was present in court.

A Berlusconi's lawyer presented the court with a letter in which the premier said he would have liked to have participated but was unable to because of "institutional commitments".

Ruby's lawyer stressed that her client repeatedly denied having sex with Berlusconi, that she was not a prostitute and that therefore she would not be claiming damages from the premier thus would not join the prosecution.

The panel of three women set to judge Berlusconi decided to adjourn the trial on May 31.

The prosecutors have forwarded to the judges some 20,000 pages of accusation against Berlusconi containing hundreds of wiretap conversations.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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