Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is expected to resign in the next few hours. Italy’s parliament has passed a series of austerity measures that pave the way for Berlusconi to step down, 17 years after he took up the first of his three periods in power.
Berlusconi scheduled a final cabinet meeting for this evening and is believed to have been planning to tender his resignation to president Giorgio Napolitano within hours of that meeting. It’s possible that Berlusconi is resigning at this very moment, and confirmation is expected this evening.
Berlusconi has had a controversial but ultimately successful political career that might have lasted many more years were it not for Italy’s crumbling economy. It’s expected that Mario Monti will replace Berlusconi, at least for now, as Italy pushes to avoid falling into a Greek-style economic disaster.