ROME, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta officially submitted his resignation to President Giorgio Napolitano on Friday.
Letta was received at the presidential palace late in the morning, and had a 50-minute talk with the head of state, after holding his last cabinet meeting as scheduled.
Centre-right Forza Italia party and other opposition forces made a call for Letta to go before the Parliament and explain the reasons of his step, in order to give more "formality" to a political crisis that broke entirely from within the main PD ruling party. Their request, however, was dismissed.
President Napolitano, 88, is due now to begin a round of consultations with all parliamentary forces to see if a majority can be secured around a new appointed premier, thus trying to avoid snap elections.
First consultations will begin Friday afternoon and will end on Saturday, the president stated.
Both the president and the parties seemed quite aware that prolonged instability might harm Italy before international observers.
First European partners' comments seemed to corroborate this fear. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, through her spokesman, said that "Germany is following the crisis with great attention and it wishes for a swift solution."
As the leader of the largest party in Parliament, 39-year-old PD chief Matteo Renzi is expected to be given the mandate to try to form a new government.
According to local media, he would likely seek to form a majority with the same partners that had supported Letta.
The mandate for Renzi may arrive as soon as on Sunday. If he succeeds, he would be the youngest prime minister in the history of the Italian republic.
The resignation of Letta was announced on Thursday, after his own Democratic Party (PD) and major forces in the ruling coalition called for a new cabinet to be formed in order to implement reforms more swiftly and better tackle the economic crisis.
PD leadership committee gathered for a tense meeting on Thursday in Rome and backed Renzi, with a vast majority of votes, in his request for "a new government that could last until the natural term of the legislature in 2018."
In this way, the centre-left party withdrew its support to Letta.
Renzi went back to Florence, where he is mayor, after the meeting. He released a short comment on the events, while attending a Valentine's Day ceremony with couples married for 50 years.
"It is a very delicate moment, but also one of the best of my life," Renzi said.
Italian Prime Minister announces resignation
BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has said he will resign, paving the way for the leader of his Democratic Party Matteo Renzi to take the helm of Italy’s third government in less than a year.
Letta’s decision comes after the Party supported a call by Renzi for a more ambitious government to pull Italy out of its current economic slump. Letta did not attend the party meeting, saying he wanted his party to decide freely whether to continue supporting him or not.Full story
News Analysis: Italian PM to resign, sparking market jitters over economic policies
ROME, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said Thursday he would resign the following day, sparking market jitters over the economic policies of a government headed by a new prime minister.
Speculations are high on local media that 39-year-old Democratic Party secretary Matteo Renzi could succeed Letta to head the country's third government in ten months and become the youngest prime minister since the creation of the Italian Republic following World War II.Full story