Italy crisis: Reaction to Berlusconi's resignation

 
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi waves as he leaves his residence in Rome, 12 November 2011 Protesters jeered Silvio Berlusconi on his way to the presidential palace

A sense of drama and anticipation built all through a momentous evening in the streets of Rome.

As Mr Berlusconi entered parliament for the last time as Prime Minister, his party deputies chanted their support. "Silvio! Silvio!" they roared, as their leader stood smiling and waving.

Then after holding one last cabinet meeting, Mr Berlusconi began the short car ride to the residence of Italy's head of state, Giorgio Napolitano. It was an undignified journey. As Mr Berlusconi emerged from his home in the city centre, protesters jeered him, shouting that he was a "buffoon" and a "mafiosi".

And a much larger crowd had gathered to wait for the prime minister outside the presidential palace, the Quirinale. Police struggled with demonstrators who jeered and whistled as Mr Berlusconi's convoy swept by on the cobblestones.

Inside the palace, the prime minister met President Giorgio Napolitano, and formally tendered his resignation. Afterwards, to avoid the protesters, he slipped out of a side door.

Meanwhile, on Facebook and Twitter, parties were being organised by those who wanted to celebrate what they must sometimes have doubted they would ever see - the back of Silvio Berlusconi.

People celebrate Silvio Berlusconi's resignation in Rome 12 November 2011 People showed contempt for Italy's entire political class
Right man

Then Italians began reacting to what had happened.

Pier Luigi Bersani, the leader of the main opposition grouping, the Democratic Party, described this as a "day of liberation".

"Berlusconi exits through the back door. Italy celebrates," ran the headline of the leftwing newspaper, L'Unita.

But some are clearly appalled by the treatment meted out to Mr Berlusconi in his last hours.

"Insulting, spitting and partying. What do stadium chants have to do with a day like this?" said an online editorial in Il Giornale, a paper run by Mr Berlusconi's brother, Paolo.

But it would be a mistake to think that the entire nation was bound up in the events surrounding the fall of Silvio Berlusconi. Earlier in the afternoon, in the streets and piazzas, there were many shoppers and strollers who seemed to care little for the drama unfolding nearby.

Nobody spoke well of Silvio Berlusconi. But then you also sensed a general contempt for Italy's entire political class.

Now all the focus is on who will come after him.

And it seems almost certain that the former European Union commissioner, Mario Monti, will be asked to form a new administration. He has a substantial amount of support.

Many people regard this much respected economist as being the right man to take charge at this time of financial crisis. But some of Mr Berlusconi's outgoing coalition are strongly opposed to Mr Monti's accession.

 

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Berlusconi's era

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 29.

    But when are Italy going to cut back on 629,000 plus fleet of government cars (even USA have 500,000 less) and the over the top parliament/european parliament wages? Great to see Silvio go, but how long will it take to right this mess. We who live here(the honest ones) pay high taxes as it is. Fuel costs are extremely high too...Can't Italy raise some cash from it's huge amount of gold reserve?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 28.

    Berlusconi resigns, who is next (Monti?) and what difference does it make! The problems still remain.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 27.

    Yes good to see him go, but lets not get too excited. There are plenty others in Europe that need to go. Berlusconi was controlled by his destiny not Italy's. And there are more like him. If these people were so good for our counties why Oh why are we in such a big problem with no where to run to, because of our stupid governments and total lack of control.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 26.

    I'm Italian and I'm finally proud and happy of the reaction of the Italian people. Berlusconi ruined our amazing country not only on the financial side but also in the ethic and moral sense. he destroyed the country's dignity and now it is time to have it back! thanks Europe and thanks to international medias.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 25.

    @ Ale (post 16)

    Even with 50% in income taxes, it is obvious we cannot pay for all the things we enjoy. Hence the high levels of debt. With an ageing population, lack of economic growth, people evading taxes, high unemployment due to previous financial crisis, the fact we cannot afford our current lifestyle without working for it, is become painfully clear.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 24.

    Berlusconi’s best act as a PM it was when he resign his position last night. He might have built an empire but as a PM he failed the country miserably with his flamboyant approach to everything and especially when he was accused of having an affair with a 16 year old girl.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 23.

    I am British but have lived in Italy for many years.Yes, mr B has resigned and thank goodness for that as he is the worst kind of male who believed that he was beyond the dynamics of the market and the need for 'change. Unfortunately he was brought down not by the 'people' many of whom protested in the streets against his rule but by the machinations of capital and the need to prop up the Euro.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 22.

    Yesterday night we celebrated the end of an era,conscious to enter in a time in which we will fight the complexity and difficulties of an economic crisis. But we are a people able to take out the best just during these times.We are the people of the Resurrection,we never had a revolution, we always had Renaissance,Risorgimento,Reconstruction.
    Because we can! Without Berlusconi,obviously....

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 21.

    Who elected Berlusconi? Who kept him in power year after year? What do the Italians want? Communism? I would like to see them live under communist ruleThe majority of cheering people do not even know what communism is. Every time they protest they wave red flags. Does that tell you something? Brainwashing?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 20.

    If the world thinks Berlusconi is done, they are deluded. He says he won't stand again but.....

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 19.

    The problem lies with the single currency, not with individuals. It could never work as tying together efficient economies like Germany with those such as Greece was bound to generate insurmountable problems. The only solution is to admit this and end the whole misguided experiment.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 18.

    who or what is the political class??

  • rate this
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    Comment number 17.

    they backed him when he was strong, now they despise him during his (deserved) fall. The opposition say liberation day. They are all contemptous as if SB were a dictator and not an elected figure. They are just mean, short-sighted, a mass of uncivilized italians. Democracy is for civilized people. Let them be ruled by the Pope: it's what they deserve: an authoritarian state with a lord-like leader

  • rate this
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    Comment number 16.

    @Mark-- not sure what you mean... In Italy taxation is very high and nearly half of your salary goes to pay (in theory) for all the things you list.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 15.

    I don't know much about Berlusconi but people are foolish if they think removing their current leader will automatically make things better.What's happening in Europe would have happened regardless of who was in charge of individual countries the past 10 yrs. The Irish had a change of leadership too but the same policies apply;we must all cough up for the greed and inadequacies of a flawed system.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 14.

    Quote: "People showed contempt for the entire political class."

    Excuse me, but who elected them? The green men from Mars?

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 12.

    um...since when has there been a 'political class' in society?
    upper, lower, middle, working, plebian, aristocratic, tronkaloid i have heard of but political...really...sounds like some skullduggery to restrict who can join in at the trough...
    yay for the Italians, i hope you can pull through the mess left on your plate.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 11.

    At last. Now perhaps Italy can bagin to pull itself away from the comedy politics of the Berlusconi era.

    There's no doubt Italians are going to be hit hard by austerity measures in the next few years but like other countries in Europe it is a necessary pain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 10.

    In Italy a lot of people are celebrating the end of mr Berlusconi , even if we know that there will be a long period of enonomic sacrifices, because we are tired of these members of parliament that have got a lot privilegies, easy to corruptions and ask the common people economic sacrifices, but they have the highest wages in Europe.It is a real shame

 

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