November 8, 2011

ITALY: Prime Minister Berlusconi Confirmed Today He Would Resign After A New Budget Law Is Approved In Parliament!

Silvio Berlusconi; born 29 September 1936) is a conservative Italian politician, the current Prime Minister of Italy, as well as a wealthy business-owner. He is also known by the nickname Il Cavaliere (literally, The Knight), due to the knighthood Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977.

He is the longest-serving post war Prime Minister of Italy, and third longest-serving since the creation of Italy, after Benito Mussolini and Giovanni Giolitti. He held this position on three separate occasions: from 1994 to 1995, from 2001 to 2006 and currently since 2008. Technically, Berlusconi has been sworn in four times because after a cabinet reshuffle, as happened with Berlusconi in 2005, the new ministry is sworn in and subjected to a vote of confidence. He is the leader of the People of Freedom political movement, a centre-right party he founded in 2009. As of November 2009, he is the longest-serving current leader of a G8 country. As of 2011, Forbes magazine has ranked him as the 118th richest man in the world with a net worth of US$7.8 billion.

Berlusconi has been criticised for his dominance over the Italian media. His broadcasting company Mediaset is the largest in the country and Berlusconi has never fulfilled his election promises to sell off his assets in the company to avoid a conflict of interest. His leadership has also been recently undermined by sex scandals. In early October 2011, his government attempted to pass a law restricting internet freedom of speech. [lol and he calls his party the "People of Freedom". WOW! As appealing as it might sound, don't be deceived by group names. Always look at their actions. This guy also had major power/control issues. He never cared about the "people" ONLY about helping those prosper who would keep him in power. Mainly government labor union employees who would re-elect him in exchange for a salary and pension increase! That's called pay-to-play! Oh and if he "really cared" about the Italian people, he wouldn't have put his country in the toilet, then take a dump and now on the verge of being flushed into an economic descent at an accelerated rate!!! (emphasis mine)] The law would have required websites to publish corrections of 'controversial' content.

On November 8th, 2011, he vowed to resign from his post as Prime Minister after financial law passage.[source: wikipedia]


Reuters news
written by Barry Moody and James Mackenzie
Tuesday November 8, 2011

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Tuesday he would resign after suffering a humiliating setback in parliament that showed a party revolt had stripped him of a majority.

Berlusconi confirmed a statement from President Giorgio Napolitano that he would step down as soon as parliament passed urgent budget reforms demanded by European leaders after Italy was sucked into epicenter of the euro zone debt crisis.

The votes in both houses of parliament are likely this month and they would spell the end of a 17-year dominance of Italy by the flamboyant billionaire media magnate.

His failure to implement reforms fueled a party revolt and Berlusconi told his own Canale 5 television station that the only option was an early election. However, this could prolong the uncertainty that has sapped market confidence.

Napolitano said he would now hold consultations on the formation of a new government. Markets and Napolitano himself are thought to favor a technocrat or national unity government.

Berlusconi's government won a key budget vote after the opposition abstained on Tuesday but failed to secure a majority, obtaining only 308 votes in the 630-seat lower house, eight short of the 316 needed to be sure of passing legislation.

Pier Luigi Bersani, the leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, said Italy ran a real risk of losing access to financial markets after political uncertainty pushed yields on government bonds toward a red line of 7 percent.

"I ask you, Mr Prime Minister, with all my strength, to finally take account of the situation ... and resign," Bersani said immediately after the vote.

Italy, considered too big to bail out, has replaced Greece as the main cause for concern in the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis.


Berlusconi has been on the ropes for weeks, beset by a string of sex and legal scandals, political defeats and, most crucially, a loss of confidence on international markets.

But the 75-year-old, who has dominated Italian politics for most of the past two decades, had steadfastly refused to step down until Tuesday's vote and battled until the last to win over rebels in his PDL party.

The vote showed he had failed to stem the revolt and Berlusconi's bitterness was revealed by a photographer who caught the words "8 traitors" jotted down on his notepad in parliament after the result was read out by the speaker.

The news that Berlusconi had finally agreed to resign came after European markets closed but the euro jumped against the dollar and U.S. stocks edged up.

Earlier, Berlusconi's key coalition ally Umberto Bossi, head of the devolutionist Northern League, said Berlusconi should be replaced by Angelino Alfano, secretary of the premier's PDL party.

The League, and many members of the PDL, were believed to have wanted Berlusconi to make way for a new center-right government to restore the confidence of markets without handing power to a transitional administration.

The center-left opposition said they had abstained to lay bare the weakness of Berlusconi's support, while allowing formal ratification of the 2010 budget.

Interest rates on Italy's debt have soared to levels that are causing deep concern about whether the euro zone can survive if its third largest economy cannot service its debts.


Yields on Italy's 10-year benchmark bonds rose to 6.74 percent on Tuesday before dropping back. Analysts said Italy was reaching the point at which Portugal, Greece and Ireland had been forced to seek a bailout.

Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said Italy was just too big to bail out. "It is difficult to see that we in Europe would have resources to take a country of the size of Italy into the bailout program," he told parliament in Helsinki.

As the spread between Italian and German bonds -- a reflection of the extra risk of holding Italian bonds -- approached 5 percent, Italian employers' association leader Emma Marcegaglia said: "We can't go on like this for long."

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