Rome

The Economist urges Berlusconi to leave

British weekly says better Italian economy due to Premier Letta

The Economist urges Berlusconi to leave

Rome, August 9 - For the good of Italy and its struggling economy, Silvio Berlusconi should leave the political stage and clear out of the way of Premier Enrico Letta, The Economist weekly said Friday. In its most recent edition, the British magazine - which has long been a critic of the three-time premier - said that Letta has done an adequate job in his first 100 days in office and should be allowed to do more. Berlusconi's conviction for tax fraud, upheld last week by Italy's top appeals court, is the final nail in his coffin, The Economist suggested in a column titled 'Farewell Silvio'. "After being convicted of a crime, it is time for Silvio Berlusconi to retire from the national scene," the article said. And it gave an "adequate" grade to Letta, who was named premier of a coalition government by President Giorgio Napolitano in April after inconclusive February elections produced two months of parliamentary gridlock. Letta should be allowed now to continue to govern and try to bolster Italy's recession-hit economy, "for the good of Italy and for the whole Eurozone". Under Berlusconi's watch, Italians have lost confidence in politics and public institutions and that must be changed, the magazine said. Such opposition to Berlusconi, founder of the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, is nothing new for The Economist, which had previously suggested Berlusconi was "unfit to rule".

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