The coalition crisis of April 2005 was the first and only one in the Parliament
elected in 2001. One of Berlusconi’s chief political goals had
been to survive the entire legislature. He fell short by only a year, and
he survived as prime minister for the full five years. The interpretation
of this crisis is therefore complex. In one light it can be seen as
the inevitable outcome of a series of tensions that had built up over
the preceding two years within an increasingly divided and unsuccessful
government. In another it can be seen as a temporary hiatus in
what was essentially a governo di legislatura of a new type. Certainly,
even after his formal resignation and a new investiture, Berlusconi’s
efforts to minimize the significance of the crisis had some justification.
Despite being forced to resign and face a formal coalition crisis, neither
his leadership nor his government was destroyed, as the crises of 1998
and 1999–2000 destroyed Romano Prodi and Massimo D’Alema.