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Italy Seeks To Form New Government After Berlusconi Exit

Former EU commissioner Mario Monti (pictured) is regarded as a leading candidate to take over as prime minister after Silvio Berlusconi's departure.
President Giorgio Napolitano is holding consultations with all of Italy's main political forces ahead of the expected nomination of a candidate to head a transitional cabinet following the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister.

Reports say former European commissioner Mario Monti is widely expected be nominated to lead a government, whose goal will be to lead the eurozone's third-biggest economy out of its debt crisis.

Late on November 12, crowds celebrated in Rome following the resignation of the scandal-hit Berlusconi. Crowds jeered and heckled the veteran leader, calling him a "buffoon," after he formally resigned after lawmakers approved a new set of austerity measures aimed at restoring market confidence in Italy's ability to avert a financial disaster like those suffered by Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Berlusconi, 75, has dominated Italian politics for the past 17 years, holding the prime minister's post for 10 of those years and making him Italy's longest-serving post-World War II prime minister.

Berlusconi has faced years of investigations over allegations of corruption and sexual misconduct, but his downfall came after Italy came under massive international and market pressure to take action to finance its debt and avoid having to receive a bailout.

compiled from agency reports