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Berlusconi tells president he will resign after parliament OKs economic reform

ROME – Italy’s president says Premier Silvio Berlusconi has promised to resign after parliament passes economic reforms demanded by the European Union to save Italy from getting engulfed further in Europe’s debt crisis.

Berlusconi’s government won the critical vote, but lacks a full majority, and remains under intense pressure to enact quick reforms to protect Italy from the growing sovereign debt crisis. He has been hobbled by a weak coalition.

“[The] most important pressure, not only on the political system but also on the Italian economic system which has a shared responsibility this serious crisis, will come from the Italian society, and Italian citizens are quite fed up,” political analyst Alexander Politi told The BBC, Tuesday.

Berlusconi, 75, decided to step down after meeting with the Italian president. His normally defiant tone appears to have shifted, saying “things like who leads or doesn’t lead the government” is less important than doing “what is right for the country.”

However, he could technically stay in the position for two to four weeks while economic measures are passed.

“That is the usual forecast. It depends very much how compact is the majority, which she isn’t,” added Politi. “And what sense of urgency might have the government on this vote, but you have to pass the bill through two chambers, and this takes generally time.”

“He’s trying to prepare to prepare the time for another possible government, or the elections. Time is the essence for him. He will fight nail and tooth until the last minute.”

Furthermore, some experts speculate that he may run again once an election is called.

Meanwhile, the yield on Italy’s 10-year bonds jumped another 0.07 percentage point Tuesday to 6.74 per cent, its highest level since the euro was established in 1999 and nearing the 7 per cent threshold that forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to accept bailouts.