The Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and will kick off consultations with party leaders tomorrow to seek a solution to the political crisis, his office has said.
Mr Mattarella asked Mr Conte to remain in office to carry out day-to-day government business while the discussions continue.
Mr Conte announced his resignation after his government lost support of key coalition members. He accused his interior minister Matteo Salvini of attempting to undermine the ruling coalition and endangering the Italian economy for his own political gain.
Mr Conte, who addressed parliament after it was recalled from its summer recess to decide the future of the barely year-old government, accused League party chief Mr Salvini of seeking to cash in on his rising popularity.
"(Salvini) has shown that he is following his own interests and those of his party," Mr Conte told the Senate. "His decisions pose serious risks for this country."
Mr Salvini demanded early elections two weeks ago saying: "Let's go straight to parliament to say there is no longer a majority ... and quickly go back to the voters."
Mr Mattarella will start his meetings at 4pm (3pm Irish time) tomorrow and wrap them up on Thursday afternoon.
He is expected to see whether there is the political will to form a new government.
If not, he will have to dissolve parliament, 3-1/2 years ahead of schedule, and call early elections.