Italy's Berlusconi Confirms His Offer to Step Down as Prime Minister

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Update 2:52 p.m.: Silvio Berlusconi has confirmed that he will resign after a new austerity budget law is passed, Reuters is reporting.

Original post: Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano told Italian news media that famously scandal-ridden prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has offered to resign after securing passage of an austerity bill in Parliament, The Guardian writes. The news comes after a vote in Parliament today revealed that he'd lost his majority support there and a main coalition partner in Parliament called for his resignation. There have been rumors that Berlusconi would resign floating around as Europe's debt crisis continues, but he's previously denied them, (through media as diverse as Facebook, no less!) The Guardian says he could step down as soon as mid-November, after which the president would work with Parliament to determine whether a new government could be immediately formed or whether the country would have to hold early elections. Berlusconi indicated he would be his party's leading candidate in those elections, reports The New York Times, but others in his party disagree, finally deciding he might be a liability for Italy as it faces ever-growing budget deficits.

Over at, former Atlantic Wire features editor Heather Horn notes that despite having successfully overcome a wealth of embarrassing sex scandals through the years, it is the economy that has finally brought the leader down. Horn calls it good news for "those thinking the economy determines all political fortunes," quipping, "How do you say 'it's the economy, stupid,' in Italian?

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