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Berlusconi to step down after budget law passes

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Beleaguered Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will step down once economic stabilization measures have been approved, the Italian presidential office said.

Beleaguered Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will step down after economic stabilization measures have been approved, Sky TG24 reported, citing the Italian presidential office

Berlusconi agreed to resign after he was unable to muster a parliamentary majority in a vote on the austerity budget. The measure passed only because opposition lawmakers abstained from voting.

But observers say Berlusconi’s government would be unlikely to survive a no-confidence vote.

Earlier in the day the yield on Italy’s benchmark 10-year sovereign bond rose to a record 6.77 percent, near the level that had triggered bailout requests from Portugal, Ireland and Greece.

On September 20, rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Italy's sovereign debt to "A" from "A+" due to the government's inability to reduce the debt and slowing economic growth. Italy now has the largest sovereign debt of any country with an "A" rating.

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