After 17 years dominating Italian politics Silvio Berlusconi has resigned as prime minister.
Crowds outside the presidential palace jeered and shouted “buffoon” as he entered to formally hand in his notice.
For the last journey of Italy’s longest serving post-war prime minister it was a particularly undignified exit. He is reported to have felt “embittered” by the insults.
Donata Mara, General Secretary the Presidency announced the resignation saying: “The President of the Republic, who thanked Berlusconi for his cooperation, has reserved the right to decide what to do next and has urged the outgoing government to remain in office to deal with ongoing issues.”
Afterwards Berlusconi left by a side exit to avoid the protesters who were in jubilant mood.
Talks on forming a new government will start today. Berlusconi is reported to have insisted the the interior minister and foreign minister stay on as a condition of his resignation.
Berlusconi had a reputation as a survivor but he was unable the resist the pressure of the scale of the financial crisis engulfing Italy.