Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Resigns
Berlusconi has served as prime minister for the last 17 years, but recent scandals involving fraud and allegations of sex with an underage girl weakened his credibility as a leader. Italy’s financial crisis proved too much for the “consummate survivor,” according to a BBC report.
Berlusconi lost his parliamentary majority Tuesday. He said he would officially resign as soon as the Senate and lower house passed an EU-backed austerity package, which aims to save 59.8 billion euros in spending cuts and tax increases to balance the country’s budget by 2014.
BBC correspondent Alan Johnston reported the former prime minister was met with a humiliating reception en route to the presidential palace in Rome to submit his resignation.
Crowds celebrated outside the presidential palace, shouting "buffoon" as he entered.... Police struggled to control a large, hostile crowd which booed and jeered as his convoy swept by, and after his resignation he left by a side exit to avoid the protesters. He said he felt "embittered" after hearing the insults.
Technocrat Mario Monti is his rumored successor, as decided by President Giorgio Napolitano. Though some are confident the respected economist will be able to handle Italy’s debt, most feel a minor change in leadership will be insufficient for resuscitating the nation’s financial outlook.
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