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On Saturday November 12 at 9.42 pm CET Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has officially resigned.
His resignation arrived just few hours after the Italian parliament’s lower house passed an austerity measures package demanded by European Union and ECB in order to restore confidence in Italy’s economy and face the country’s heavy debt crisis.
Over 17 years, Berlusconi has always been the main character of the political scene in Italy, he was elected four times as prime minister – in 1994, 2001, 2005, and 2008 – and survived to more than 20 trials and accusations, several votes of confidence, sex scandals and conflict of interest.
After failing to win a parliamentary majority on a budget vote four days ago – for the first time since his election in 2008 – , he announced he would have left office right after the passage of the austerity package demanded by EU.
While the political events were getting hotter day by day, the economic crisis of the country kept on worsening especially because of the strong financial speculation of the markets.
Hence, in such a difficult and hard situation Berlusconi seemed to have no choice and had to surrender and eventually step down.
The news of his future resignation was welcomed by all the opposition parties, one part of his government coalition and a large portion of economics and politics experts and specialists.
Today after the austerity package was approved by the parliament lower chamber with 380 votes and the Republic President signed the legislation in the afternoon, the crucial moment arrived.
The official meeting to hand in his resignation to Republic President Giorgio Napolitano was set for 8.30 pm CET but Berlusconi arrived notably late.
Many people gathered in Rome, out of the presidential palace, to witness the last minutes of Berlusconi as prime minister and celebrate his resignation. At his arrival at the crowds started shouting “Buffoon!”, “Shame!”, and “Get out!”.
For about 40 minutes all the country waited for the official news. Journalists from all around the world were there and the attention of the media was totally drawn on this extraordinary event. November 12 was called the “freedom day” by the crowds gathered in Rome as by many people on social network sites happy to see him leaving the scene.
When the news of Berlusconi resignation broke at 9.42 pm CET, the crowds erupted in cheers, waving Italian and European flags, singing, dancing, jumping for joy. Resistance period songs were struck, bottle of champagne open to toast, and also the Handel’s Hallelujah was performed by chorus of professional and non-professional singers and classical musicians.
Silvio Berlusconi stated he won’t run for next elections but he will keep on contributing and collaborating with his political party. He also wants to participate in the new transition government foundation putting members of his party as candidates.
The new government, which will be led by Mario Monti former European commissioner, will be probably made up of technocrats and economics experts who will have to deal with the heavy economic crisis and the huge debt of the country. Tomorrow Sunday 13, Republic President Giorgio Napolitano will announce the complete government coalition.
The resignation of Berlusconi is seen as the end of an era and a new start for Italy and its political scene but the scenario is still unclear and confused. Next weeks and months will tell us what will be the future of a country that is on the brink of precipice.
Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/andresubierna/6241870752/