Silvio to go after 17 years


Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi indicated last night that he would resign from office as soon as the key reforms required by the European Union to cut debt and boost growth have been passed through parliament.

The move came after Berlusconi’s government won a vote to approve last year’s public accounts by 308 votes out of 630 votes in the Chamber of Deputies. However, the 308 votes fell short of the majority 316 required normally and was only successful because the opposition did not vote.

Prior to the vote it was clear that at least another eight of Berlusconi’s deputies had decided to defect to the opposition and that he would not be able to pass any further legislation in this parliament. His woes were increased when Umberto Bossi, the leader of the Northern League, a key Berlusconi ally, told reporters that “We asked the prime minister to step aside”.

Following the vote Berlusconi consulted with President Giorgio Napolitano and the announcement came soon after. The president now has a choice of trying to form a new government, possibly around Berlusconi’s key deputy Angelino Alfano, until July the Justice Minister but currently Secretary of Berlusconi’s People of Freedom Party (PdL), or he could call an early general election.

In either scenario the process is likely to take weeks and Italy is facing increasingly high bond yields. The yields on 10-year Italian bonds touched 6.73% yesterday, nearly the highest seen across the problem countries within the Eurozone since the crisis started.

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