Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has resigned, according to the country’s president.
Mr Conte survived two confidence votes in parliament last week, but then lost his absolute majority in the Senate after centrist ally and former PM Matteo Renzi defected.
This has made it much more difficult for the premier to pass legislation or make decisions on the COVID-19 crisis, which has devastated Italy’s long-suffering economy.
The country’s president, Sergio Mattarella, will start consultations with the leaders of other parties on Wednesday, according to a statement, adding that Mr Conte had been asked to stay on in a caretaker capacity.
Mr Conte has led a long-bickering centre-left coalition for 16 months.
For the 15 months before that, he headed a government with the populist 5-Star Movement, parliament’s largest party, but in coalition with the right-wing League party of Matteo Salvini.
That first government collapsed when Mr Salvini pulled his support in a failed bid to win the premiership for himself.