Giorgio Napolitano’s hour came on November 11, 2011: Silvio Berlusconi was at the head of a government paralyzed by internal disputes that had lost the trust of the financial markets and its European partners due to persistent mismanagement. The risk premium for Italian government bonds compared to German federal treasury bonds, the so-called “spread”, had risen to over 500 basis points, and the country was teetering towards insolvency. Then Napolitano summoned the “Cavaliere” to the Quirinal Palace, the official residence of the Italian President, and asked him: “Do you and your government still have the strength to turn things around with convincing and drastic measures?”
Berlusconi, who has also died in the meantime There was no answer – two days later he returned to the Quirinal to hand Napolitano his letter of resignation. The four-time former prime minister left the palace through a rear exit; he never returned to the top government. In front of the main entrance to the Quirinal, hundreds of Romans celebrated the fall of Berlusconi by singing the partisan song “Bella Ciao”. In those days, Napolitano had become the central, dominating figure on the Italian political stage, the organizing force in the Roman chaos, the thinker and leader of the Republic – in short: “Re Giorgio”, or “King Giorgio”, as he was called by the Italians have since called it with respect and affection.
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