Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has told the president he’ll step down as soon as the government’s budget and financial stability law receives parliamentary approval.
The decision comes after he lost the support of the centre-right PDL party on Thursday over the severity of the budget cuts he has imposed.
If Monti resigns, an election – which was due by April next year – would have to be held within 70 days.
The economist has been running a technocrat administration since the fall of Silvio Berlusconi’s government in November 2011.
The business tycoon stepped down over a sex scandal as Italy’s debt crisis deepened.
But Berlusconi has vowed to run for a fifth time as prime minister because he had a “sense of responsibility” for the country’s problems.
Italians have never warmed to Monti preferring the outspoken media magnet.
But Berlusconi’s critics say his priority if he wins power again will be to protect his business interests.