Timeline: Italy’s Berlusconi as prime minister

(Reuters) – Here is a timeline on Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister:

April 2008 – Berlusconi wins a comfortable majority in both houses of parliament in elections. It was his third term as premier, having held the job in 1994-95 and from 2001-06.

May – Berlusconi’s cabinet approves tough new measures against illegal immigrants and crime, despite concerns in the European Union that they could fuel racism.

July – Parliament approves a law giving Berlusconi immunity from prosecution, a victory for the conservative leader who has complained of being hounded by “biased” prosecutors.

July 2009 – Berlusconi hosts G8 summit in L’Aquila, a venue he chose after the city was devastated by an earthquake three months earlier. He hoped summit would help L’Aquila’s economy.

July – Berlusconi faces accusations of cavorting with teenagers and prostitutes. He says he is “no saint” but vows to govern until the end of his mandate.

Oct – Italy’s constitutional court rules that a law granting Berlusconi immunity from prosecution violates the constitution in a verdict that will reopen trials against him.

Dec – Berlusconi is rushed to hospital covered in blood with a broken nose and teeth after a man with mental problems hurls a statuette of Milan cathedral at him at a rally.

January 2010 – On his first day back at work almost a month after he was attacked, Berlusconi works out a three-pronged strategy to regain his immunity from prosecution.

March – Italy’s senate approves a law shielding Berlusconi and his ministers from trial for 18 months.

April – Berlusconi and former ally Gianfranco Fini engage in a public shouting match, with Fini accusing Berlusconi of running the Party of Freedom (PDL) like a monarch.

July – Berlusconi wins a confidence vote on an austerity package deemed crucial to protect Italy’s financial stability.

July – Berlusconi splits with Fini, accusing him of trying to administer a “slow death” to their party. Fini supporters register a new group called “Future and Freedom for Italy,” with 33 seats in the lower house, of which Fini remains speaker.

September – In a parliamentary confidence vote called to end the feud that has split the PDL party, Berlusconi wins 342 votes against 275 but needs backing of Fini supporters to survive.

November – Reports emerge of a teenaged nightclub dancer attending parties at Berlusconi’s private residence and of his office intervening with police to help her over separate accusations of theft. He shrugs off the criticism, saying “It’s better to like beautiful girls than to be gay.”

November 7 – Fini urges Berlusconi to resign.

November 15 – Fini loyalists pull out of the government.

December 11 – Thousands of people take part in rallies organized by the opposition Democratic Party in Rome to protest against Berlusconi ahead of the no-confidence motion.

December 14 – Berlusconi narrowly survives a no-confidence motion by 314 votes to 311 in the lower house of parliament. He also wins a vote in the Senate.

January 13, 2011 – Italy’s constitutional court partially strikes down a law that gives the prime minister blanket immunity from prosecution.

January 28 – The trial of Berlusconi on charges of tax fraud and false accounting set to resume on February 28 after Italy’s top court ruled he could not invoke automatic immunity.

February 14 – Berlusconi says he has no intention of stepping down and dismisses a February 13 demonstration by women across Italy over his involvement in a sex scandal.

February 15 – An Italian judge orders Berlusconi to stand trial on April 6 on charges of paying for sex with an underage girl and abuse of office.

February 28 – The trial of Berlusconi on tax fraud charges resumes involving the acquisition of television rights by Italy’s biggest private broadcaster Mediaset.

March 28 – Berlusconi appears in court for the first time in eight years over alleged fraud during the acquisition of television broadcasting rights.

April 6 – Berlusconi’s sex trial opens and is immediately adjourned until May 31.

(For a graphic on Italy’s economy under Berlusconi, click on http:/r.reuters.com/jyp97r)

Timeline: Italy’s Berlusconi as prime minister