–Adds Developments Since Key Vote In Parliament

ROME (MNI) – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will step
down from office in mid-November, President Giorgio Napolitano said
Tuesday after a meeting with the prime minister.

According to media reports, Berlusconi could submit his mandate to
Napolitano after a vote on new austerity measures demanded by the EU,
now scheduled for November 18 in the Senate and by the end of the month
in the House of Deputies.

After the ratification of these measures, the prime minister will
tender his resignation to the president, who will then consult with the
political parties of the governing coalition and the opposition on the
formation of a new government, the president’s office said in a

These developments follow a vote in the lower house earlier in day,
in which the government was able to obtain the ratification of last
year’s public accounts thanks only to the abstention of the opposition

But Berlusconi secured a majority of just 308 votes, significantly
fewer than the 316 of the 630-member chamber needed to maintain a
governing majority in parliament,

The vote was not a vote of confidence, meaning the government did
not necessarily have to resign. The result showed, however, that
compared with October 14, when the ruling coalition successfully faced
its previous vote of confidence, Berlusconi had lost further support and
managed to pass the usually routine measure only thanks to the
abstention of the opposition, which wanted to ”count” the size of
governing majority.

Earlier Tuesday, Berlusconi’s main ally, the Northern League party
leader Umberto Bossi, urged him to resign. Berlusconi had resisted all
calls to resign so far and repeatedly maintained that he would stay on
until the end of his term in 2013.

“We asked him to step aside, take a step to the side,” Bossi told
reporters ahead of today’s vote. The League’s defection brought down
Berlusconi’s first centre-right government in 1994.

Bossi said former Justice Minister Angelino Alfano, the man
Berlusconi has indicated as his successor, should step in to lead the

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