Berlusconi says Italy needs justice reform or elections

ROME Fri Aug 2, 2013 2:58pm EDT

1 of 2. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi leaves Palazzo Grazioli, his residence in Rome, August 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's center right must push for reform of the justice system or seek new elections, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told lawmakers from his People of Freedom Party, according to a source at the meeting on Friday.

"If there is no reform of the justice system, we are ready for new elections," he told the meeting, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

On Thursday a court upheld a conviction for tax fraud against Berlusconi, threatening both his position as center-right leader and the stability of Italy's fragile coalition government.

(Reporting by Antonella Cinelli, writing by Naomi O'Leary)