As I have often said, most things in Italy take an inordinate amount of time. Every now and then, however, something positive does actually get done. Antonio Fazio's last defenses have fallen and for the first time I have the feeling that he will in the end resign:
Antonio Fazio, the Bank of Italy governor, was fighting an increasingly desperate battle to keep his job yesterday as the centre-right government piled on the pressure for his resignation.I have been carping about Fazio for so long that by now I even feel a little sorry for him. Nonetheless I strongly feel he represents much of what is wrong with Italy and I am certainly eager to see the back of him.
Silvio Berlusconi, prime minister, on Monday for the first time distanced himself from the governor, saying criticism of Mr Fazio by his finance minister "in many ways can be considered well-founded."
Support for Mr Fazio was fading even in the populist Northern League, a government party, which until now has been his strongest ally in the ruling coalition.
The government last week approved reforms aimed at improving the Bank of Italy's governance after Mr Fazio was accused by his critics of showing bias towards Italian financial institutions in two cross-border bank takeover battles.
Domenico Siniscalco, finance minister, Giulio Tremonti, deputy prime minister, and other ministers are calling openly for Mr Fazio's resignation in the interests of the central bank and Italy's international financial reputation.