Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi says he will resign on Tuesday, finally admitting defeat three weeks after Romano Prodi won a general election by a narrow margin.
Berlusconi is now looking to next month’s presidential vote.
Prodi’s centre left coalition has managed to get its candidates elected as speaker in both houses of parliament.
Berlusconi told journalists it was only natural that the centre right should put foward nominees for president – the head of state is chosen by parliamentary vote.
Although Berlusconi refused to name names, he is expected to promote Gianni Letta, a confidente who enjoys across the board support.
President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi’s mandate expires on May 18. He has signalled the job of asking Prodi to form a new government should fall to his successor.
Prodi – heading a coaltion that ranges from communists to centrist Roman Catholics and boasting a tiny majority especially in the upper house – would like to be nominated before then.