In this photo released by the Italian Presidency, the general secretary Donato Marra officially announces the resignation of Mario Monti at the Quirinale presidential palace in Rome Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Mario Monti handed in his resignation to Italy's president in Rome on Friday, bringing to a close his 13-month technical government and preparing the country for national elections. President Giorgio Napolitano -- who tapped Monti in November 2011 to come up with reforms to shield Italy from the continent's debt crisis -- asked Monti to stay on as head of a caretaker government until the national vote, expected in February. (AP Photo/Antonio Di Gennaro, Italian Presidency ho) (The Associated Press)
Italian Premier Mario Monti moves his tag name as he delivers his speech at the Foreign Ministry for the Italian Ambassadors conference in Rome, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Monti pledged to resign as soon as the budget law is passed after Silvio Berlusconi yanked support for his government, accelerating national elections now expected in February. The budget law was approved Friday afternoon. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) (The Associated Press)
ROME – Italy's president is meeting with political leaders to set the stage for general elections early next year as Premier Mario Monti weighs whether to run for office after having handed in his resignation.
Monti, appointed 13 months ago to steer Italy away from a Greek-style debt crisis, stepped down Friday after ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi's party yanked its support for his technical government.
His resignation sets the stage for President Giorgio Napolitano to dissolve parliament and set a date for elections, expected in February, after consulting Saturday with leaders of Italy's political parties. More eagerly anticipated though is Monti's decision, expected Sunday, as to whether he will run.
Small centrist parties have been courting Monti, but Italian newspapers said Saturday he was inclined to refuse. The center-left Democratic Party is expected to win.