Italian center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi faces one of the heaviest blows of his 20-year political career on Wednesday when the Senate votes on stripping him of his seat in parliament over a conviction for tax fraud.
The vote will be the culmination of months of political wrangling and is almost certain to lead to Berlusconi's expulsion from the upper house, opening an uncertain new phase for one of Italy's most divisive political figures.
(Read more: Italy's Letta wins confidence vote on 2014 budget)
The 77-year-old media billionaire, who has dominated politics for two decades, has already pulled his party out of Prime Minister Enrico Letta's ruling coalition after seven months in government, accusing left-wing opponents of mounting a "coup d'etat" to eliminate him.
The Senate is due to vote at around 7.00 p.m. (1800 GMT) to declare Berlusconi ineligible for parliament after he was convicted of masterminding a complex system of illegally inflated invoices to cut the tax bill for his Mediaset television empire.