Berlusconi decided that, if he is expelled by the Parliament, all of his MPs must come with him. Each of them yesterday was presented by the party officers with a resignation letter and compelled to sign it. The letters were then collected by the officers, who could use them anytime.
Something very similar already happened in Italy in 1924, during the rise to power of the Fascist Party. The fascist-dominated Government was accused of complicity in the assassination of socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti, who was indeed killed by a fascist “action squad”. Nearly the entire opposition left the Parliament in protest. This was called “Aventino”, from the name of aprotest staged by the people against the aristocracy in Ancient Rome.
The Aventino proved a mistake, however, since the Fascist Party simply kept running the Parliament and the Government, quickly turning Italy into a dictatorship.