November 13, 2011 by staff
Berlusconi Resigns, Silvio Berlusconi resigned on Saturday to make way for an emergency government Italians hope will save them from financial ruin as thousands of jeering protesters shouted “clown, clown” and toasted the end of a scandal-plagued era.
Berlusconi, who failed to secure a majority in a crucial vote on Tuesday, stepped down as prime minister after parliament passed a package of measures demanded by European partners to restore market confidence in Italy’s strained public finances.
Former European Commissioner Mario Monti is expected to be given the task of trying to form a new administration to face a widening financial crisis which has sent Italy’s borrowing costs to unmanageable levels.
More than a thousand demonstrators waving banners mocking Berlusconi flocked to the president’s residence at the Quirinale Palace as the motorcade carrying the billionaire media entrepreneur, who has been Italy’s longest serving prime minister, entered.
The crowd grew so unruly that Berlusconi was forced to leave secretly via a side entrance and return to his private residence.
Cheers broke out when they heard that Berlusconi had resigned and the square broke out into a party atmosphere. People sang, danced and some broke open bottles of champagne.
An orchestra near the palace played the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah. “We are here to rejoice,” one said.
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