Italy’s Prime Minister to Resign

Posted December 8th, 2012 at 5:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti says he will resign after parliament passes next year's budget law.

The prime minister's office announced the plan Saturday. Mr. Monti said if the budget law can be passed “quickly,” he would immediately confirm his resignation.

Mr. Monti's announcement came after a two-hour meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano, who has the power to dissolve parliament.

He said his government did not have enough support after the departure of the center-right People of Freedom, led by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, the 76-year-old media mogul and billionaire who resigned in disgrace a year ago amid a series of scandals.

Mr. Berlusconi announced Saturday that he is running for the fourth time for prime minister.

The controversial leader stepped down in November 2011 after pressure from international financial markets when Italy was on the verge of bankruptcy. He was later convicted of tax fraud and has faced sexual misconduct allegations.

Senator and economist Mario Monti was appointed to replace him. Mr. Monti formed a non-elected government of technocrats, supported by People of Freedom, with the task of getting Italy out of the financial crisis.

The People of Freedom party has lost much of its support in the past year, but Mr. Berlusconi told reporters that he is “entering the race to win.”