The End of the Berlusconi Era
“Finally he is leaving. Finally it is over,” Renato Cambursano, a deputy in the opposition Italy of Values said during the parliamentary debate that preceded the vote. Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian powerhouse who has controlled the Prime Minister position for the majority of the past two decades, resigned on Saturday. His resignation came just days after the downfall of Greek Prime Minister George A. Papandreou. Both rulers were swept away in an overwhelming financial crisis that threatened the entire European Union, where the toiled financial markets were upending traditional democratic processes.
Berlusconi’s resignation ignited cheering crowds throughout the streets of Italy, a chorus of “Alleluia” being sung by dozens of singers outside the president’s palace, and heckling chants of “Buffoon! Buffoon!” as Berlusconi entered and exited the presidential palace to officially resign. Despite the excitement for Berlusconi’s exit, this is a jarring transition for the Italian government. “This is the most dramatic moment of our recent history,” says the editor of the Milan daily newspaper, Ferruccio de Bortoli.