When austerity measures were passed in the Italian parliament Saturday night, Silvio Berlusconi stayed true to his pledge and handed in his resignation, stepping down as Prime Minister after 17 years in politics.
As Berlusconi drove away, jeers and taunts of “Buffoon!” could be heard from the crowd. The raucous demonstrators soon formed a celebratory conga line in front of the presidential palace.
Berlusconi was reportedly shocked at the reaction to what he told reporters was his "generous and responsible" gesture to step down.
On Sunday, Mario Monti, often referred to as ‘Super Mario’ by the press, an economics professor and former EU-commissioner, was named as Berlusconi’s successor.
Monti has refused to enter into speculation about ministerial nominations, simply re-iterating that he would work with the outmost urgency afforded by the task at hand.
The positive reactions of the markets on Monday morning provides some hope that a Monti government could bring the much needed relief wished for.
Mr. Monti will have to oversee the implementation of a 58.9 billion euro austerity package that was passed under pressure from the EU. The measures include spending cuts and tax increases that are meant to balance the budget by 2014.