Silvio Berlusconi contested his ban from holding public office in a hearing at the European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday.
The former prime minister known as Il Cavaliere is leading Forza Italia’s campaign towards legislative elections early next year. Following a victory in Sicily’s regional elections earlier this month, Forza Italia is considered a king-maker as a potential junior coalition partner for the center-left.
Forza Italia polls in the region of 14%.
The 81-year old Belusconi was convicted of tax evasion fraud in 2013 and he is banned from holding public office until 2019. His argument is that the crime itself took place long before his conviction. Following his conviction, he served in an old people’s home and was expelled from the Senate.
The ruling may not come before national elections in the beginning of 2018.