The panel's decision will need to be confirmed with a full vote of the Senate in the coming weeks. But it is being interpreted as a further sign of the end of the political career of the centre-right leader and media tycoon, who has dominated Italy's politics for almost 20 years, a news agency reported.

The committee - which worked the same as a judiciary body - convened on Friday morning at Silvio Berlusconi, the Senate palace. It held a short public session to discuss the latest legal and procedural issues, before gathering in a long closed-door meeting.

As expected Berlusconi didn't attend, nor did his lawyers Franco Coppi, Piero Longo and Niccolo Ghedini. They had announced that they would not appear before the committee, because they considered it "not impartial".

"Many members of this panel have already publicly expressed their position in favor of Berlusconi's ejection and that makes it useless for us to intervene in defense of our client" they said in a statement on Friday morning.

"The expulsion of Mr. Berlusconi from Parliament is only a matter of law's implementation, not a political issue" the lawyer for the counterpart Ulisse Di Giacomo replied during the committee's hearing.

The committee's verdict was announced shortly after 4.30 pm on Friday. On August 1, Berlusconi was convicted of a tax fraud by the Italian Supreme Court and sentenced to four years of prison, automatically reduced to one year under a 2006 pardon act.

He was also banned from holding public office. After dozens of trials in almost 20 years of political career, it was the first definitive conviction and made him formally ineligible for parliament under a 2012 anti-corruption law.

 (Agencies)

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