After five years in power Silvio Berlusconi has officially handed-in his resignation to the Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.
The president may ask election winner Romano Prodi to form a new government and take over as prime minister as early as this week.
Berlusconi, a billionaire businessman who led an alliance of rightwing parties, had initially refused to concede, and says he will lead a fierce political opposition in parliament.
After weeks of political limbo, Prodi is keen to take control of the government.
“I hope that the intermediate period won’t last too long, and I also hope that there will the possibility for the technical exchange of information, the advice which is necessary at these kinds of moments,” Prodi said.
Berlusconi finally had to concede defeat when the parliamentary speakers from the centre-left were elected on Saturday.
Prodi now hopes President Ciampi will bow to pressure and give him the mandate to govern before he is due to resign later this month.