Tuesday

12th Dec 2017

Italian parliament shows Berlusconi the door

Silvio Berlusconi has lost the support of his parliament in a development that could spell the end of his political career.

In a much-anticipated vote in the Italian lower house on Tuesday afternoon (8 November), 308 MPs approved the government's 2010 budget while a full 321 refused to take part in the vote.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  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.

"Today, we are making an act of defiance and of responsibility: defiance because we'll prove that the government has lost its majority, and responsibility because we'll let the budget pass," said Dario Franceschini of the Democratic Party, the biggest opposition group.

The budget bill, including a range of austerity measures demanded by European leaders, needed to pass "not for the good of the government, but for the good of the country," said Benedetto Della Vedova of the Future and Freedom party, a conservative break-away group from Berlusconi's governing People of Freedom party.

In a bid to change the minds of last-minute defectors, Fabrizio Cicchito, a Berlusconi's party spokesman, had said: "We have done everything that Europe has asked us to do. Let us be reminded that it is not the markets that elect governments. Let us do our part like we have done over the last couple of years."

The vote comes after weeks of intrigue and rumours of defections in Rome. A painful blow to Berlusconi came when his long-time ally and coalition partner, Umberto Bossi of the Northern League, earlier on Tuesday urged him to step down.

What happens next is unclear. The president of the republic, Giorgio Napolitano, has the power to dissolve parliament, but it remains to be seen whether he will do so.

Berlusconi has said he would await today's vote and decide later whether to step down or not. If so, he has said he would push for new elections instead of a government of national unity.

He might decide to stay on and push for a vote of confidence in the Senate however, where he still holds a comfortable majority. Such a move would inevitably push the opposition in the lower house to call for a vote of no confidence there as well. But the maneuvering would allow Berlusconi some time to try and regain the support of defectors.

For his part, opposition leader Pier Luigi Bersani in his closing remarks on Tuesday said Berlusconi's reluctanc to let go the reins is doing damage to the country's fragile financial situation.

"Everybody knows that Italy runs the risk in the coming days of losing access to the financial markets. I call on Berlusconi to resign and to entrust the head of state with the task of searching for a new government. If he does not, the opposition will resort to other measures," he said.

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.

Italian bonds shatter 7% bail-out ceiling

The interest rate on Italian 10-year government bonds breached seven percent on Wednesday, shattering the psychological bail-out ‘ceiling’. Greece, Portugal and Ireland all had to seek multi-billion-euro bail-outs when their 10-year bonds exceeded this threshold.

Thousands march for Catalonia in Brussels

Around 45,000 people marched in support of Catalonia in Brussels to get the EU involved in mediating the conflict with Madrid. 'Europe must realise that it can still play a role in the Catalan crisis,' said self-exiled Catalan leader Puigdemont.

Thousands march for Catalonia in Brussels

Around 45,000 people marched in support of Catalonia in Brussels to get the EU involved in mediating the conflict with Madrid. 'Europe must realise that it can still play a role in the Catalan crisis,' said self-exiled Catalan leader Puigdemont.

News in Brief

  1. EU to Israel: Don't expect us to move embassies
  2. EU Commission condemns anti-semitic 'Jerusalem' protests
  3. Ministers have 'lots of questions' on new CAP plans
  4. Commission: Brexit agreement is 'deal between gentlemen'
  5. 25 EU states sign defence cooperation pact
  6. Netanyahu wants 'hardy' talks with EU on Jerusalem
  7. French centre-right elects new leader
  8. Germany and UK increase arms sales

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  2. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  3. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  7. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  9. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  10. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  11. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  12. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage

Latest News

  1. Alignment with EU is 'last resort', May tells MPs
  2. Iceland: further from EU membership than ever
  3. Israel presses Jerusalem claim in EU capital
  4. From dark coal toward a brighter future
  5. UK casts doubt on EU deal in 'bizarre' twist
  6. Romania wants EU signal on Schengen membership
  7. Germany says China using LinkedIn to recruit informants
  8. No chance of expanding EU warrant crime list