News / Europe

Berlusconi Agrees to Resign

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (C) holds and saves a memo reading "308 [the result of the vote] - 8 traitors - political reversal - vote - take note: resign - Republic President - a solution" during a budget vote at the parliament in Rome, Novem
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (C) holds and saves a memo reading "308 [the result of the vote] - 8 traitors - political reversal - vote - take note: resign - Republic President - a solution" during a budget vote at the parliament in Rome, Novem
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Bryant

Itay's beleaguered Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is to resign after parliament passed crucial economic reforms on Tuesday aimed at stabilizing Italy's economy. The growing political crisis is spreading across the 17-nation eurozone.

Italy's parliament passed the budget bill, a normally routine procedure, by 308 votes in favor. Berlusconi failed to garner a majority, though, and a striking 321 lawmakers did not vote at all.

The vote was widely viewed as a test of Berlusconi's survival. There have been growing calls for the Italian leader to step down over sex scandals and Italy's financial problems that threaten to make Europe's third-largest economy the latest victim of the eurozone crisis.

Berlusconi's political rivals and allies alike have been demanding his resignation.

Professor James Walston, chair of international relations at the American University of Rome, said, "Even his closest advisors have realized that Berlusconi has lost his magic. The sort of problems which Italy is facing are ones which Berlusconi is both unwilling and incapable of dealing with. And from close advisors and collaborators like [under-secretary Gianni] Letta, [Secretary-General of the People of Freedom Party Angelino] Alfano, to all sorts of backbenchers, have decided they do not want to be part of the government which causes major problems and possibly catastrophic problems for Italy and for the European Union."

The Italian drama took place as European finance ministers scrambled in Brussels to build a firewall against the spreading debt crisis.  Speaking to reporters before the talks Tuesday, Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg was blunt in assessing the eroding international confidence in Europe.

"I think we do have a problem that Europe is running dry in credibility and [the] solution to high debt crisis must be lower debt and the responsibility is on the countries with high debt, and that is obviously Greece and Italy," said Borg.

Greece also is in the midst of political upheaval as Prime Minister George Papandreou hands power over to a coalition government. Papandreou's downfall came after he shocked and outraged Greek and European politicians by announcing a referendum on tough European Union austerity measures. The referendum was called off.

The spreading eurozone crisis already has caused the collapse of governments in Portugal and Ireland. The socialist government in Spain, which also is struggling with a high debt and budget deficit, also is expected to lose power in parliamentary elections this month.

Some additional photos of Silvio Berlusconi:

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid