Italian parliament dissolved
Italy’s president has dissolved parliament following the resignation of prime minister Mario Monti, formally setting the stage for general elections in February.
It remains unclear as to whether Mr Monti will participate in the election.
President Giorgio Napolitano signed the decree today after consulting with political leaders.
Mr Monti, appointed 13 months ago to try steer Italy away from a Greek-style debt crisis, stepped down yesterday after the party of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi withdrew its support for his technical government.
He has scheduled a news conference for tomorrow during which he is expected to announce whether or not he will run for office.
While he has overseen a recovery in Italy's bonds and repaired its tattered standing abroad, his agenda left Italians with higher taxes, rising unemployment and a shrinking economy.
Small centrist parties have been courting Mr Monti, but Italian newspapers say he is inclined to refuse.
Polls indicate the centre-left Democratic Party will win the vote. A Monti-led ticket could deprive the Democrats of votes, but would not be expected to garner anything near a majority.