It has taken 19.5 years to Italy to sanate a wound to its democratic fabric, one which made the country look like a sort of Banana republic, where a tycoon could acquire consensus through his mediatic power, rule unchallenged, and break the law without punishment. But finally we got around it yesterday afternoon, where a vote of the Senate of Republic has decreed that Silvio Berlusconi is unfit to hold a seat in the Parliament.

Berlusconi has been kicked out of the Senate and is now a private citizen with the same rights of all others, and cannot any more ignore the result of its outlaw activities. Already sentenced to four years of imprisonment for tax fraud and the creation of funds abroad (moneys which could feed illegal activities of bribery and condition the democratic life in Italy) Berlusconi is now facing one year of arrest at home or in alternative the attending of social service for an equivalent period of time. He already chose the latter, and I am quite curious to see what he will end up doing for society, since in the last twenty years I have only observed him caring for his own private interests.

Berlusconi has also already been sentenced to seven years of imprisonment for sexual exploitation of underage girls and for setting up a prostitution system during "elegant" dinners (his definition) in his residence - dinners that allegedly ended up with group sex parties. That process is still ongoing because in Italy you can claim yourself innocent until you have been tried three times: in a first degree of judgement, then at an appeal court, and finally at the "corte di Cassazione". Everybody expects that process to also end up with a definitive conviction.

A third trial is also awaiting to be celebrated: Sergio di Gregorio, a congressman elected in the center-left coalition, confessed to judges of having received $3.6 million to change party and support Berlusconi, at a critical juncture in 2006 when prime minister Romano Prodi, from the center-left coalition, could only count on a thin majority in the Senate. Other congressmen are also suspected of having received $1.2 million each.

The above charges are but a taste of the way the last twenty years of Italian history have been conditioned by the misdemeanors of the leader of the Italian right. Many trials have failed to be completed because of delaying tactics by Berlusconi's lawyers, combined with laws he himself could get approved as a Prime Minister to save himself from punishment.

Regardless of the misdemeanor and criminal actions of which he has been charged, the fundamental reason why Berlusconi should never have been allowed to sit in the Italian parliament in the first place is a different one. He owns a media empire that gives him an immense communication power. In Italy there is a law stating that citizens benefiting from the concession of a commodity from the State, such as the exploitation of radio and television frequencies, cannot run for public office. The reason is evident: the law prevents one from playing on both sides of a table where a financiary agreement is taking place. Unfortunately, that law was never applied for Berlusconi, for reasons that remain unclear (at least to me).

So today, after almost twenty years, I finally feel a bit less ashamed of my country.