1994: The Berlusconi era begins
Berlusconi was elected to parliament and appointed prime minister in March 1994, only a few months after he decided to enter politics and form his own political party, Forza Italia. But the coalition government he cobbled together -- which included the conservative parties Alleanza Nazionale and Lega Nord -- imploded only seven months later when Lega Nord leader Umberto Bossi (the same politician who's calling for Berlusconi to resign this week) deserted the prime minister, who had just been indicted by a Milan court for bribing Italian tax authorities.
"It's not that investors have anything against Berlusconi personally -- it's just that his three-party coalition is seen to have reneged on its promises and that as long as he is prime minister investors will have no confidence in Italy," an Italian market analyst explained to AFX News ahead of the Italian premier's resignation. BNP Paribas ran an analysis with the headline, "The End of the Berlusconi Era?" But there were signs that Berlusconi's political career still had life in it. A poll released in late December indicated that Berlusconi was still Italians' top choice to lead the next government.
Above, Berlusconi gives a speech in parliament in December 1994 before tendering his resignation.