Tuesday

13th Nov 2018

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"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.

EU's centre-right make Weber their man to replace Juncker

The centre-right EPP party's congress wanted to show unity - but divisions remain after the political alliance lined up behind Germany's Manfred Weber as their 'Spitzenkandidat' ahead of next year's European election.

News in Brief

  1. UK seeks swift use of new EU chemical weapons blacklist
  2. Barnier briefs EU ministers: intense negotiations continue
  3. Romanian minister preparing EU presidency steps down
  4. Finland says Russia possibly behind GPS jamming
  5. German AfD leader under fire for Swiss campaign funding
  6. Seehofer announces he will step down as CSU party leader
  7. EU condemns elections in Russia-occupied eastern Ukraine
  8. German Greens pick two top candidates for EU election

Opinion

On Armistice Day, EU is still best gift we can give our children

While young people fought each other in 1918, young people in 2018 travel to study together under the Erasmus programme. But there is a risk of limiting our commemoration to representing the past through just speeches, museum exhibits and visits.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Romanian leaders trade jibes over upcoming EU presidency
  2. EU warns Romania not to abuse GDPR against press
  3. EU 'Magnitsky Act' must bear its proper name
  4. Fear of nationalist surge marks European memorials
  5. Liberals ally with Macron for election, but no candidate yet
  6. Revealed: Link between MEPs CO2 votes and domestic car jobs
  7. All Quiet on the Eastern Front?
  8. Merkel and Brexit in spotlight This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us