We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

A man, waiting for the resignation of Berlusconi, shows a mock magazine cover displaying the former PM in Rome. Riccardo De Luca/AP/Press Association Images

Italy prepares for Mario as Silvio steps down

Berlusconi resigned last night, ending a 17-year-long political era.

SILVIO BERLUSCONI RESIGNED as the prime minister of Italy last night.

The announcement was met with joy in Rome as hecklers shouted “we’re free” and insults such as “buffoon” were directed at the former leader who is blamed for the country’s economic woes.

A chorus of “Alleluia” could also be heard in front of the president’s palace as the government’s downfall was watched by thousands, reports the New York Times.

The media mogul did not speak to the crowds following his resignation. However, local media said that he told his aides that the jeering “deeply saddens” him.

Mario Monti, a European commissioner seen as the antithesis of Berlusconi, is waiting in the wings and is likely to be named as an interim prime minister shortly.

Romans believe that Monti – the man who brought Bill Gates’ Microsoft to court – is the politician to steer the country from the brink of a bailout.

Consultations will be held this morning, led by President Giorgio Napolitano. It is expected that Monti will be asked to form a transitional government by Monday.

Back-to-back 10-minute meetings will be held with the main political parties this morning as Italy moves to have a clear plan by the time markets open tomorrow.

Berlusconi’s party has already said it will support Monti but the decision was divisive.

Yesterday, parliament’s lower chamber easily passed European-demanded austerity measures.

The end of an era

Berlusconi first came to power in 1994 and has been voted in on three separate occasions to become the longest-serving post-war premier in Italy.

The 75-year-old billionaire made his fortune by building up his media empire. The flamboyant character is also known as a singer and has plans to release a music album of love songs.

Previously a popular PM, his last term was marred by sex scandals, reports about his “bunga bunga” parties and several lawsuits involving charges of corruption.

He faces criminal charges over accusations that he paid an underage girl for sex at one of his infamous parties.

However, it was the economic turmoil in Italy that was the catalyst for his resignation.

Bond yields shot up to “unsustainable levels” – a phrase we know all too well in Ireland – and the country’s massive debt pile cast a dark shadow over the government.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has said that Italy should send a “clear sign of clarification and credibility” that the country is getting its finances back in order over the next few days.

Here was the jubilant scenes in Rome last night following Berlucsoni’s resignation:

(From giambomambo on YouTube)

-Additional reporting by AP

More: Italy’s economic package passes, paving way for Berlusconi resignation>

Who? Mario Monti, the bluffer’s guide>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.