9 Dec 2012

Italy PM announces plan to resign

5:07 pm on 9 December 2012

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has announced he will resign once next year's budget is approved.

The BBC reports the announcement comes two days after Silvio Berlusconi's party withdrew its parliamentary support for Mr Monti's technocrat government.

Mr Monti, who heads a non-elected cabinet of technocrats, said he will try to pass a budget and financial stability law before standing down.

Hours earlier, former Prime Minister Mr Berlusconi said he will run for office again next year.

He said Mr Monti's austerity policies had harmed Italy.

Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom party withdrew its support from the government on Thursday.

A statement from the office of President Giorgio Napolitano said that Mr Monti "does not think it possible to continue his mandate and consequently made clear his intention to present his resignation".

If the law for next year's budget can be passed "quickly", Mr Monti would immediately confirm his resignation, the statement said.

Berlusconi confirms comeback intention

Mr Berlusconi said he will run to become the country's leader for a fifth time.

Mr Berlusconi, 76, resigned in November 2011 over Italy's economic troubles and was convicted of tax fraud in October. He is appealing against that ruling.

He said on Saturday he is returning sadly to public service, out of a sense of responsibility.

Mr Berlusconi has already served as Italy's prime minister for three separate terms.

Mr Berlusconi said he had not missed the office of prime minister "not even for a minute" and he was returning out of a "sense of responsibility".