Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Saturday dissolved parliament – the latest development in the country’s ongoing political crisis.
Parliamentary elections are to be held on February 24 -25. Silvio Berlusconi has already declared his intention to take part.
Earlier on Saturday, Napolitano met with representatives of all the country’s parliamentary political parties and groupings at his Quirinal Palace residence. The dissolution of parliament was, he said, the only way out of the situation.
Italy’s former Prime Minister, Mario Monti, announced his intention to resign on December 8, several days after Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party made it clear they would no longer support the technocratic government that formed following Berlusconi’s resignation in November 2011.
In the days that followed, Berlusconi launched repeated attacks on Monti’s policies, accusing him of damaging the country’s economy and even of implementing policies that benefit third countries, such as Germany.
Monti resigned on December 21, claiming that he was keeping his word – stepping down once parliament had passed his controversial austerity budget.