May 2, 2006

Italy PM Berlusconi goes to president to resign

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's outgoing Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi told his cabinet on Tuesday that he was going to
tender his resignation to the president, Communications
Minister Mario Landolfi told reporters.

Berlusconi's resignation starts the countdown to the
formation of a new government headed by centre-left leader
Romano Prodi.

Berlusconi left the cabinet meeting to drive to the palace
of President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, who could ask Prodi to form
a government by the end of this week.

Berlusconi, who will continue in a caretaker capacity until
a new administration is installed, had contested the result of
the April 9-10 general election which handed Prodi a razor-thin

However, he was forced to quit after the new parliament
elected speakers at the weekend for the lower and upper houses,
both from the centre-left coalition, showing Prodi can control
the two chambers with his slim majority.