Thursday

27th Jul 2017

Rumours swirl around possible Berlusconi resignation

  • Berlusconi has denied rumours he will step down (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

Political commentators and markets went into overdrive Monday afternoon (7 November) amid rumours that Silvio Berlusconi is to step down as prime minister of Italy.

"That Silvio Berlusconi is about to step down is now clear to everybody, it's a matter of hours, some say minutes," Giuliano Ferrara, editor of newspaper Il Foglio, said in a video posted on the newspaper's website.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“Berlusconi will resign between tonight and tomorrow,” tweeted Franco Bechis, deputy director of daily newspaper Libero.

Berlusconi himself denied the rumours. “The voices talking of my resignation are unfounded,” he wrote on his personal Facebook page.

"I spoke to the prime minister a short time ago and he told me the rumors of his resignation were baseless," Fabrizio Cicchitto, head of the parliamentary group of Berlusconi's People of Freedom party said in a statement.

Markets were quick to respond to the rumour with stock markets initially rallying and the yield on Italian bonds falling. But soon after the denial by Berlusconi, stock markets slumped again and government borrowing costs went up.

Even if the resignation rumours turn out to be unfounded, Berlusconi does not appear to be out of trouble yet.

The Italian lower house is set to vote the government’s 2010 budget on Tuesday (8 November). This would normally be a routine piece of legislation but is now seen by many as a vote of confidence in the embattled Italian prime minister.

If Berlusconi loses the vote, president Giorgio Napolitano may ask him to step down.

“Judging from the latest news, it seems that we no longer have the majority and it would be useless to resist,” said Roberto Maroni on Sunday, the country’s interior minister and a heavyweight within the government’s junior coalition partner, the far-right Northern League.

Earlier in the day, Gabriella Carlucci, an MP of Berlusconi’s Freedom of People party and former TV starlet, had announced that she had defected to the opposition. “The only solution for the crisis is a government of national unity,” she said.

Six other government MPs had already said they would vote against the government and asked Berlusconi to “act like a statesman and make way for a new phase in politics and a new government”.

At a rally on Saturday in Rome organised by the Democratic Party, the biggest opposition party, tens of thousands of protesters called for Berlusconi to step down and to allow a government of national unity to restore the country’s dignity. “It was the biggest protest in recent political history,” said Pier Luigi Bersani, the party’s leader.

Berlusconi, meanwhile, seems as confident as ever. “We have verified the numbers and we still have a majority,” he said on Sunday.

Both government parties have repeatedly said they would not support a new government of national unity. “It would be better to go to the ballots,” said Umberto Bossi, leader of the Northern League.

The European Commission, for its part, refused to comment on the situation. But commission spokespeople were at pains to stress that it was different to troubled Greece where the prime minister resigned Sunday amid ongoing recriminations over the latest austerity drive.

European officials are preparing to travel to Rome this week for a detailed assessment of Italy's planned reforms.

Report: Italy to be put under IMF surveillance

Reuters reports that Italy has agreed to be put under surveillance by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of a plan to restore market trust in the eurozone's third-largest economy.

Berlusconi: Life was cheaper before the euro

Italians are poorer today than before the introduction of the euro, Prime Minister Berlusconi said Friday after failing to gain the trust of world leaders about the reforms his government has to implement.

Berlusconi pledges to resign as EU inspectors land in Rome

Following a humiliating rout in parliament on Tuesday, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said he will resign immediately after a package of austerity measures is approved - a development expected in the coming weeks.

EU Commission sets red lines for Poland on Article 7

The EU executive expects Warsaw to halt the judiciary reform and address concerns over the rule of law, and not to force out supreme court judges, or else the sanctions procedure will start.

EU Commission to act on Poland

The EU executive is likely to issue a new set of rule of law recommendations to Poland and start legal probes once the controversial pieces of legislation have been published.

Opinion

Stop blaming Trump for Poland’s democratic crisis

If you were to judge events purely on the US media's headlines, you would be forgiven for wondering if the Polish government had anything to do with its recent controversial judicial reforms.

News in Brief

  1. Werner Hoyer re-appointed as EU investment bank chief
  2. Spanish PM denies knowledge of party corruption
  3. France 'routinely' abuses migrants, says NGO
  4. Swedish government rocked by data scandal
  5. Member states relocate 3,000 migrants in June
  6. Top EU jurist says Malta's finch-trapping against EU law
  7. EU judges rule to keep Hamas funds frozen
  8. EU court rejects passenger data deal with Canada

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  2. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  3. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  5. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  6. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  7. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  9. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  10. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  11. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  12. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Ep. 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug

Latest News

  1. Insults fly after EU ultimatum to Poland
  2. UK requests EU migration study, 13 months after Brexit vote
  3. EU defends airline data-sharing after court ruling
  4. Stop blaming Trump for Poland’s democratic crisis
  5. EU-US scrap on Russia sanctions gets worse
  6. Czechs, Hungarians, and Poles have one month to start taking migrants
  7. EU Commission sets red lines for Poland on Article 7
  8. Court told to 'dismiss' case against EU migrant quotas