Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister of Italy, met with President Giorgio Napolitano on Tuesday night. The rushed visit followed a vote in the lower house of parliament earlier on the same day. The Prime Minister did not manage to inspire a clear majority for his budget only receiving 308 votes in a chamber of 630.
Gianni Letta and Donato Marra were also present at the meeting where Italy’s leader “expressed his awareness of the implications of the result of today’s vote in the House, he has at the same time expressed deep concern about the urgent need to give precise answers to the expectations of European partners”, explicitly referring to the demands of the European Commission.
The statement issued from the Palazzo del Quirinale refers to the need to pass the Stability Act which contains Italy’s austerity package. Bold moves are needed to quell fears of another sovereign debt default in Europe. The nuanced message means that Berlusconi will not resign until the measures are in place.
Once the law is passed, the President has indicated that he will consult with political parties on whether to create a new government or hold elections. Italy is grappling with rising debt costs as markets fear a default more critical than that of Greece.