Berlusconi says it is bitter day of mourning for Italian democracy

ROME Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:58am EST

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ROME (Reuters) - Italian center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi, on the verge of being stripped of his seat in parliament after a tax fraud conviction, said Wednesday was a dark day for the country's democracy.

"It is a bitter day, a day of mourning for Italian democracy," said Berlusconi at a street rally outside his Rome residence minutes before the voting to expel him from parliament is expected to begin.

The magistrates and judges who convicted him of committing tax fraud in August are opening the way for a socialist takeover of the country by eliminating him, Berlusconi said.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer, editing by Naomi O'Leary)

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