Silvio Berlusconi has resigned as prime minister ending one of the most scandal-plagued eras in Italy’s post-war history.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the presidential palace to cheer as he departed. There were also scenes of jubilation in other parts of Rome as news spread.
Berlusconi’s departure paves the way for an emergency government and the adoption of a package of economic reforms intended to reverse a collapse of market confidence.
His resignation also sparks a series of events over the weekend that will most likely conclude on Sunday night or Monday morning with the formation of new government headed by former European Commissioner Mario Monti.