Berlusconi Steps Down

The NY Times describes a great scene from this past Saturday:

An impromptu orchestra and choir gathered outside the presidential palace, where Mr. Berlusconi resigned, playing the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.”

Hundreds of spectators gathered outside, shouting “buffoon” and “go home” to a polarizing leader once loved by many, making Mr. Berlusconi the very embodiment of the Italian saying that the tenor is applauded until he is booed off stage. Some in the crowd were popping bottles of champagne. And cars and mopeds in downtown Rome waved Italian flags and honked their horns in celebration, as they do when the national soccer team wins.

It would have been exciting to be there. Of course, a change of prime minister doesn’t change the financial and economic environment in which Italy finds itself. We now have two Marios, Mr. Monti and Mr. Draghi, to watch for the next stage in the euro debt crisis.

“I know that the crisis won’t be over just because he leaves, and I’m a bit concerned about what will happen with the markets, but I know that this country will be better without him,” said Isabella La Monica, a retiree, who was waiting in front of the prime minister’s residence. “Things can’t get any worse.”

We’ll see about that.

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