Media mogul loses immunity

Italian voters have overturned four laws passed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government, including one giving the media mogul partial immunity from prosecution.

After handing Berlusconi a sound defeat in local elections last month, at least 57% of Italian voters turned out in a referendum on Sunday and Monday.

They overwhelmingly voted to halt plans for nuclear energy, block privatization of water utilities, and to prevent Berlusconi from avoiding prosecution by claiming that his government schedule constitutes a “legitimate impediment” to his showing up in court.

Berlusconi faces three trials stemming from fraud charges connected to multimillion-dollar Hollywood deals inked by his Mediaset TV empire. Separately, the 74 year old is also charged with having sex with an underage teen during parties at his Milan villa and using his influence to cover it up.

The recent results at the polls are fueling speculation that Berlusconi’s conservative coalition, now in the throes of deep internal conflict, may fall before the end of its 2013 mandate.

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