Silvio Berlusconi is expected to resign as the prime minister of Italy after the approval of economic reforms demanded by the euro zone, the country’s president said today. Earlier in the afternoon, Berlusconi won an important vote in parliament on the 2012 budget, but suffered a larger loss as 321 lawmakers abstained from voting, indicating that Berlusconi “no longer has a majority,” according to opposition leader Pier Luigi Bersani. President Giorgio Napolitano’s office said later in a statement, “Once this engagement is fulfilled, the Prime Minister will hand in his mandate to the head of state who will proceed with appropriate consultations, paying close attention to the positions and proposals of all political forces.” On Monday, Berlusconi took to Facebook and insisted, “Rumors of my resignation are baseless.” Now he seems to be switching his political relationship status to “single.”
Update: The New York Times stresses that Berlusconi’s resignation is conditional, depending on the passage of the proposed austerity measures, which will likely face a vote this month. A little insight into the prime minister’s mindset could be seen after today’s events in parliament:
While the opposition leader called on him to resign, Mr. Berlusconi wrote his options on a piece of paper captured by a news agency photographer. “Resignation” was one. He also wrote “eight traitors” about the lawmakers who failed to support him.
And a final noteworthy detail surely swimming around in Berlusconi’s head: “The day he stops being prime minister, Mr. Berlusconi risks losing immunity in several corruption trials. ”