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Silvio Berlusconi’s party pulls plug on Italian government

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Silvio BerlusconiROME, Italy – Italy is in turmoil again. Former premier Silvio Berlusconi and his center-right party have pulled the plug on Italy’s technocratic government. Speaking at a press conference held after an hour and a half of consultations with Italy’s president Giorgio Napolitano, Angelino Alfano, the spokesman for Mr. Berlusconi’s party People of Freedom (PDL), said the government led by premier  Mario Monti is over.

Yesterday, Mr Berlusconi’s party walked out during a vote in the Senate on Italy’s 2013 budget. The gesture was deemed ‘largely symbolic’ but it was also a reminder of Italy’s former premier’s ability to still pull the strings of Italian politics despite being sidelined since being forced to resign as premier in November 2011. 

The Wall Street Journal reports:

In fact, despite the walkout, Mr. Berlusconi’s party made sure there was enough of a quorum to secure passage of two decrees—one a measure aimed at cutting the cost of politics and the other an omnibus pro-growth measure that includes tax breaks for some infrastructure projects and rules promoting the sale of public-transport tickets by cellular phone.

Mr. Monti has implemented most of the reforms on his political agenda. He was appointed as Italy’s prime minsiter at the height of the country’s financial crisis. He replaced Berlusconi as the country’s premier and and was backed by an overwhelming majority, including the People of Freedom party, in order to push the country out the crisis. Italy has a huge public debt estimated around 2 trillion euros and Mr. Monti is credited with restoring international credibility to the country.

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