Nightly News | November 12, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: Big news from overseas tonight. The flamboyant billionaire prime minister of Italy , Silvio Berlusconi , is out, handing in his resignation late today to that country's president. After surviving years of scandal, it was ultimately an economic crisis that brought him down. Our chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is in Rome tonight.
RICHARD ENGEL reporting: "Buffoon, buffoon," crowds shouted tonight in front of the presidential palace in Rome . And "mafioso, mafioso."
Crowd: Mafioso! Mafioso! Mafioso!
ENGEL: The demonstrators hope their insults would reach inside the palace as Silvio Berlusconi handed in his resignation. When word came that the deed was done and Berlusconi was out, they sang...
ENGEL: ...danced, and toasted the end of the political career of a man many considered an embarrassment. Berlusconi has just stepped down as Italy 's prime minister. And tonight thousands here are saying 'good riddance.'
Unidentified Woman #1: Now we're happy because we're free. We want a leader who is serious, who represents us.
ENGEL: Berlusconi was brought down by Italy 's economic crisis, not his many scandals or bunga-bunga sex parties, as he called them.
Prime Minister SILVIO BERLUSCONI:
ENGEL: In Rome 's Campo de' Fiori earlier today, "Hallelujah," one woman said.
Unidentified Woman #2: Hallelujah!
ENGEL: 'Finally, we got rid of him,' agreed this man. For years, Berlusconi , a media tycoon worth $9 billion, seemed untouchable. He's been in court 2,500 times by his own count, accused of attempting to bribe a judge, corruption and abuse of power. There was Ruby , the dancer he allegedly had sex with when she was only 17. Berlusconi laughed it off and Ruby became a celebrity. Many Italians shrugged off the scandals. But they could not tolerate when international creditors lost faith in Italy 's economy and its leaders. So today Italy passed its own tough austerity measures with more to come and Berlusconi was forced out. Protesters are now in front of Berlusconi 's home trying to make sure he does not get any sleep tonight . The new prime minister here is widely expected to be Mario Monti , a respected economist and university professor, somebody most people consider serious, even understated.
HOLT: Richard Engel in Rome tonight. Richard , thanks.