Italy's president started talks with the political leaders of the country to form a new government following the resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
President Sergio Mattarella began consultations on Thursday to decide whether to appoint an interim prime minister until upcoming elections scheduled for 2018 or to assign the leadership of the country to an interim government, which should serve until a snap vote could be held in spring.
Mattarella, a former constitutional court judge, began by consulting the speakers of the upper and lower houses of the parliament, Pietro Grasso and Laura Boldrini, respectively. Grasso is widely viewed as one of the possible candidates for new leadership.
Renzi announced his resignation after he lost a constitutional reform referendum on Sunday aimed at reducing the role of Senate and limiting the powers of regional governments. He had said a "No" vote at the referendum would also mean an end to his government.
In his consultations, President Mattarella also held talks with former president Giorgio Napolitano, 95.
Mattarella's meetings will continue with political parties on Friday and Saturday, and he is expected to announce a decision about the new leadership on Monday.
The process of electing a new government in Italy has been experienced numerous times.
The country is notorious for having had 63 governments in the past 70 years. However, it is the first time a government has collapsed since the Sicilian Mattarella took office last year.
Most political parties, including Renzi's Democratic Party [PD], which holds the majority seats in the parliament, appear to favor an early vote in 2017.
On Wednesday, Renzi said the PD would only participate in a government intended to last until 2018 if it was backed by parliament. "Otherwise, early elections should be held as soon as possible," he said on Wednesday.
Many are expecting Mattarella to ask a member of Renzi's cabinet, possibly Economy Minister Pier Paolo Padoan, Transport Minister Graziano Delrio or Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, to form a new government.
However, he might also appeal to the parliament to back another choice.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team