From Reuters news agency:
Woman expelled from party for criticising Berlusconi
By Silvia Aloisi
ROME | Tue Feb 1, 2011 1:12pm EST
The only woman in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right party who dared to speak out against his relationship with young women said Tuesday she was being expelled from the movement.
While party heavyweights have rushed to defend Berlusconi, mired in a prostitution scandal, Sara Giudice, a 25-year-old city council official in Milan, criticised his taste for starlets and said he should stop giving them jobs in politics.
She launched a petition demanding the resignation of Lombardy regional councillor Nicole Minetti, a former TV showgirl and Berlusconi‘s ex-dental hygienist who, prosecutors allege, procured young women for sex parties at his homes.
As of Tuesday, nearly 10,000 people had signed the petition online, according to its dedicated website, http://www.firmiamo.it .
“I have just been told that I will definitely be out,” Giudice told Reuters. “They seem to prefer having Minetti.”
No comment was immediately available from Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) party.
Magistrates are investigating Berlusconi on suspicion that he paid for sex with a “significant” number of young women, including a night club dancer who was 17 at the time. Paying for sex with a prostitute under age 18 is an offence in Italy. …
According to phone taps, most of the women who attended Berlusconi’s so-called “bunga bunga” parties were hoping to break into show business on one of his Mediaset TV channels, or be promoted into politics.
One said she wanted to be “like Mara,” referring to Equal Opportunities Minister Mara Carfagna, herself a former showgirl.
Senior PDL officials have rallied behind Berlusconi, strenuously defending his right to privacy, but Giudice’s lone voice has earned her black sheep status in the party.
At the weekend, women protested in Milan and Florence with banners reading “Italy is not a brothel.” More demonstrations are planned in several cities in the next two weeks.
“It is not moralism, but the kind of model that we are offering to the country is negative,” said Giudice, who has a university degree and has been a member of Berlusconi’s party since she was 18.
“The message is, if you come from a certain type of television, then you can make it, it’s your shortcut to politics and to success. If not, it’s better to go live in another country.”
(Editing by Philip Pullella/Maria Golovnina)
Female Factor: Sex Scandals in Italy Fuel Discontent of Women: here.