On Saturday night, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi officially resigned after dominating the country’s politics for 17 years.
Berlusconi visited the Presidential Palace and handed his resignation to President Giorgio Napolitano who accepted his offer. The most likely interim Prime Minister to be appointed will likely be technocrat Mario Monti, who was a former European Union Competition Commissioner.
Berlusconi’s resignation came as a result of losing his majority government at a key parliament vote on austerity measures this week amid a growing debt crisis that is threatening the eurozone. He promised to step down as Italy’s bond yields surged to record highs. After MPs had approved new austerity measure on Friday, Berlusconi promised to resign.
As Berlusconi was heading to the presidential palace this evening, thousands of Italians gathered outside chanting “buffoon, buffoon”and as many celebrated like it was New Year’s eve, opening up champagne bottles.
The fall of Italy’s Prime Minister follows just one day after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou resigned in order to pave the way for a new coalition government to implement the country’s austerity measures.
The changes of governments in Italy and Greece were “positive,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in Honolulu today, while attending the Apec summit.