A new chapter in Italian politics is being written today with President Giorgio Napolitano holding back-to-back talks with all parties on the formation of an emergency government.
Gianfranco Fini was one of the first in. A former ally of Silvio Berlusconi, Fini and his Future and Freedom party joined the opposition last year.
As leader of the lower house, he is clearly a possible for the role of prime minister.
But virtually everyone is predicting it will be Mario Monti.
The former EU commissioner would lead a technocratic administration to resolve the current economic crisis before new elections.
The new prime minister and cabinet should be named tonight ready for a parliamentary confidence vote tomorrow or Tuesday.
All this follows the final approval of an austerity bill yesterday, paving the way for Berlusconi’s resignation as premier although he remains an MP and party leader.
However his popular support has all but gone. After his resignation, his cavalcade had to run the gauntlet of a jeering crowd.
It is a humiliation that, despite the scandals, would have been unthinkable just a few months ago.