Ferrari chairman Montezemolo calls on Italian PM Berlusconi to resign

Silvio Berlusconi is used to opposition. The Italian prime minister has, with a few gaps here and there, been running the country since 1994. This despite numerous scandals and regular votes of no confidence that have threatened to kick him out of office. But this time around, Berlusconi could be on his way out for good.

Among those calling for Berlusconi to step down is no less influential an institution than the Catholic church. But another Italian figure could stand to tip the balance even further: Luca Cordero di Montezemolo.

The affable Ferrari chairman, who has also chaired the Fiat empire (among other influential industrial groups), has long been seen as a potential challenger to Berlusconi's government. Born of nobility, Montezemolo's family tree is heavy with generals, admirals and cardinals. And he could be the country's next prime minister.

Montezemolo's business acumen could prove to be the defining factor in upcoming elections that could come as soon as next year if Berlusconi's coalition falls. Despite his status as currently on trial for tax fraud and soliciting underage prostitutes, it's the economy that's likely to bring down the sitting prime minister. With interest rates skyrocketing, Italy's economy is threatening to hit the same lows that have befallen such European nations as Greece, Ireland and Portugal. Luca's certainly made a financial success out of Ferrari – could he do the same for Italy?

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