סילביו ברלוסקוני מתפטר פרלמנט איטלקי איטליה
Photo: AP

Berlusconi quits; crowds cheer

Hundreds of demonstrators celebrate after Italy's longest serving prime minister steps down

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi formally resigned on Saturday, ending one of the most scandal-plagued eras in recent Italian history amid the jeers of hundreds of protestors gathered in central Rome to celebrate his departure.


President Giorgio Napolitano accepted Berlusconi's resignation after a meeting in the presidential palace, his office said.


Hundreds of demonstrators waving banners mocking Berlusconi flocked to the president's residence at the Quirinale Palace waiting for the arrival of the billionaire media entrepreneur who has been Italy's longest serving prime minister.


In a statement issued after his final cabinet meeting earlier Saturday, Berlusconi confirmed he would go to see President Napolitano to hand in his resignation.


An orchestra near the palace played the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah. "We are here to rejoice," one of the musicians said.


Demonstrators chanting "resign, resign, resign" and "clown, clowns, clowns" also gathered outside the prime minister's office and parliament, whistling and heckling ministers as they walked between the two buildings.


'This -deeply saddens me'

A small group of pro-Berlusconi demonstrators gathered outside his residence but were outnumbered by opponents.


"This is something that deeply saddens me," the Italian news agency Ansa quoted Berlusconi as telling aides.


Once Berlusconi steps down, former European Commissioner Mario Monti is expected to be given the task of trying to form an administration to manage an escalating financial crisis.


Italy, the euro zone's third largest economy, came close to disaster this week when yields on 10-year bonds soared over 7.6%, the kind of level which forced Ireland, Portugal and Greece to seek an international bailout.




פרסום ראשון: 11.12.11, 22:40
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