President Giorgio Napolitano has dissolved Italy’s parliament following the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Monti. The move helps pave the way for a national election in February.
Napolitano dissolved the Italian parliament Saturday, after consulting with political leaders, his office said. Senior Italian political party officials told the president there was no reason to extend the current legislature – due to end in April – after Monti resigned.
A two-day national election will be held on February 24 and 25.
The first to consult with Napolitano were officials from former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative People of Freedom (PDL) party, the largest of the outgoing legislature, who urged Monti to remain “neutral” during the campaign. Berlusconi is widely believed to be preparing a new election bid.
“Going into elections with an unelected technocratic government, Mario Monti will have to remain above the fray,” said PDL whip Fabrizio Cicchitto.
Monti resigned on Friday, describing his 13 months in office as “difficult but fascinating,” after the PDL decided to stop supporting his non-partisan government.
The former European Union commissioner is reportedly being courted to lead a centrist coalition featuring Ferrari boss Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, rebels from Berlusconi’s camp and Christian Democrats.
The 69-year-old economist, who has been credited with restoring Italy’s battered credibility with financial markets, was expected to clarify his political future at a press conference scheduled for Sunday.