Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced he will resign Tuesday, in what media reports said was an attempt to build a new government after weeks of turmoil.
He called a cabinet meeting for 9:00am (0800 GMT) when he “will inform the ministers of his desire to go to the Quirinale (President Sergio Mattarella’s office) to resign”, his office said.
Media reports suggest he will seek a new mandate to form a new government to run Italy as it battles the coronavirus pandemic, which has left more than 85,000 people dead in the country and crippled the economy.
The ruling coalition has been teetering on the edge of collapse since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his small Italia Viva party on January 13.
Conte survived a parliamentary vote of confidence last week but failed to secure a majority in the Senate, the upper house, leaving his government severely weakened.
His resignation comes ahead of a key vote on judicial reforms later this week, which commentators suggest the government was on course to lose.
Shortly before the announcement, the largest party in parliament, the populist Five Star Movement (M5S), said it would stand by Conte.
“We remain at Conte’s side,” said a statement from the party’s leaders in both parliamentary houses, Davide Crippa and Ettore Licheri.