AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Berlusconi vows to step down as Italy's Prime Minister

The flamboyant Italian premier has offered his conditional resignation today – agreeing to step aside once the country’s new budget is passed by parliament.

ITALY’S PRIME MINISTER Silvio Berlusconi has announced that he will resign as soon as parliament passes the new budget, following the loss of his parliamentary majority earlier today.

Earlier, the Italian premier won a crucial financial vote in his parliament but, in doing so, lost his parliamentary majority – sending the cost of borrowing to new record highs.

In a statement released by the president’s office this evening, Berlusconi was said to understand “the implications of the result of the day’s vote in the lower house”. However, it added Berlusconi retained concerns about the need for Italy to pass reforms as requested by “European partners”, the New York Times reports.

The statement continued: “Once this engagement [the new budget] is fulfilled, the prime minister will hand in his mandate to the head of state who will proceed with appropriate consultations, paying close attention to the positions and proposals of all political forces”.

Al Jazeera reports that the new budget law was expected to be passed by the end of the month, but that the process may now be accelerated.

After the vote today, it was likely that Berlusconi would have faced another vote of confidence in his leadership – having only narrowly survived two such votes in the past few months.

The flamboyant 75-year-old has been at the center of numerous scandals over the years, facing a range of corruption trials and sex scandals.

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