Scandals, accusations of incompetence or corruption, public gaffes and private sex parties could not do for Silvio Berlusconi.
In the end the controversial Italian prime minister was brought to his knees by the international markets, who pulled the rug out from under him. Berlusconi rode into politics on the back of business success; now the business world has turned on him.
“I want to ask the opposition in parliament to approve these stability measures and, after the approval of the Stability Law, which meets all EU and Eurogroup requests, resign in order for the head of state to hold talks and decide what to do for the future. It’s not up to me to decide what the head of state must do, but the only option I see is new elections,” he said on a phone-in programme.
Whoever succeeds Berlusconi will have a huge task ahead, as his communication skills plus near-total control of Italian media made him seem immune at times, a useful attribute in the rough world of Italian politics.