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Yearbook 2011

2011 ItalyItaly. The year 2011 became heavy and gloomy, both for Italy and for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Even before the year had begun, the media froze in yet another so-called sex scandal between Berlusconi and a young woman, and during the second half of Italy. According to Countryaah official site, Italy was drawn into the eurozone's debilitating debt crisis. It was the end of Berlusconi, who was forced to resign since more and more politicians abandoned him and the people's dissatisfaction reached new record levels.

At the end of 2010, prosecutors in Milan began investigating the "Rubygate deal", which could have more severe consequences for Berlusconi than previous prosecutions and charges. A young Moroccan, Karima el-Mahroug, a nightclub dancer with artist name Ruby, later told the press that she received € 7,000 in gift when she attended a dinner at Berlusconi in 2010. She was 17 at the time but has constantly denied that they had any sex contacts for a fee. According to the newspapers, however, the dinner guests had continued with an erotic play. The whole affair had become known when "Ruby" was arrested for mockery in Milan. Berlusconi became aware of this, called the police station and demanded that she be released because, as he claimed, she was one of the then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's grandsons. The prime minister has referred to his kind heart and admitted that he wanted to help the girl to be free. In February 2011, he was formally charged with having sex with a minor as well as for abuse of power when he released her.

2011 Italy

Between Berlusconi and the judiciary, especially judges in Milan, a legal-political tug of war has been going on for a number of years. A law passed through 2010 made certain members of the government immune to prosecution for 18 months. In early 2011, however, the Constitutional Court changed parts of the law and declared that an individual prosecutor/judge has the right to decide whether a minister should be prosecuted.

Although prosecutors sharpened the tone and claimed that Berlusconi had intercourse with a number of prostitutes - which is not illegal, however, there was no trial during the year. His lawyers were able to bring up the current "Ruby case" and three older cases, including bribery and fraud. On the other hand, his holding company Fininvest was fined in July for bribing a judge in the so-called Mondadori case in 1991. Berlusconi has often attacked the judges, saying that no other person has been subjected to so many legal proceedings; there are about 25 investigations, mainly concerning corruption.

However, Berlusconi became increasingly politically weakened. In local elections in May, the candidates for his Conservative Alliance People of Freedom (PdL) lost power in several cities, including in his hometown of Milan and in Naples.

Alongside the Greek debt crisis, Italy's ill-fated economy came into focus, and a vicious cycle started when the outside world demanded ever higher interest rates on credit to Rome. In August, the European Central Bank promised to "buy" part of the large government debt - which amounts to almost 120% of GDP - against Rome's economic reforms. But not even in previous years, when Berlusconi had a large majority behind him, did he deal with the long-standing weak growth or corruption within the state apparatus. The debt was allowed to grow for a long time, and when the situation became acute in 2011, the government's support in Parliament had eroded so much that the reform plans dragged on over time.

Berlusconi must combine almost every major decision in Parliament with a vote of confidence in order not to lose. It worked because not many people wanted new elections, especially the weak and fragmented left. In October, the crisis got worse, and more or less open demands for Berlusconi's departure came now also from the Vatican, business (Confindustria) and his close ally Umberto Bossi, leader of the Northern Federation (Lega Nord, LN). The Prime Minister survived a vote with an emergency call, but his supporters now demanded the appointment of an expert government. After facing increasing pressure from the leaders in France and Germany, Berlusconi was forced to resign if only Parliament adopted an expanded reform program, including increased retirement age for women to 65 and frozen salaries in the public sector until 2014. The program had been voted down in early November following the departure of his party, but then everything happened quickly. On November 11-12, the reforms were voted on, and Berlusconi resigned immediately. A new so-called expert government took office under the leadership of economist Mario Monti, former EU Commissioner.

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