April 20, 2005


Italy's Berlusconi hands in resignation (ALESSANDRA RIZZO, 4/20/05, Associated Press)

Premier Silvio Berlusconi handed the president his resignation Wednesday and pledged to form a new government to strengthen his coalition, which has been weakened by a sluggish economy and opposition to Italian involvement in Iraq.

The premier's resignation brings to an end to Italy's longest-serving government since World War II. Berlusconi had been under pressure to resign since a stinging defeat in regional elections earlier this month.

President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi's office said in a statement that Berlusconi had tendered the resignation of his Cabinet, and added the government would stay on as caretaker.

Earlier, Berlusconi had addressed the Senate and told the country of his plan to step down and form a new government and platform.

It is now up to Ciampi to designate a candidate to assemble a new government, or else dissolve parliament and call early elections. Ciampi, who begins formal political consultations Thursday, is expected to give Berlusconi the mandate to form a new Cabinet.

"The regional elections showed a clear sign of discomfort," Berlusconi said in his Senate address. "I want to give an adequate political response."

Government partners "have all demanded a new government, to be based on the same coalition," Berlusconi said. "I accept this challenge."

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 20, 2005 12:53 PM

Did he actually complete a full term?

If not, 60 years after WWII and they still can't get it right.

Posted by: Sandy P at April 20, 2005 11:50 PM

The usual crowd has had it in for B. ever since he made it clear that he's not anti-American and that he thinks defeating Islamist terrorism is a good thing. The Euro media's coverage has been, well, what you'd expect regarding a Euro politician who supports the US. A year or so back, the once-reliable Economist ran some piece the thrust of which was something like, "That vile Berlusconi, inexplicably, hasn't resigned in shame yet."

Posted by: Tom at April 22, 2005 10:22 AM
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