Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti resigned, ending a 13-month tenure and clearing the way for elections that will focus on his crisis-fighting austerity policies.
The appointed premier submitted his resignation Friday to President Giorgio Napolitano, according to a statement from the president’s office.
Napolitano asked Monti’s Cabinet to remain in power to handle routine government administration. Monti stepped down after lawmakers passed a 2013 budget law. The president has suggested Feb. 24 as the date for elections.
Monti took over last year just as Italy risked becoming the next victim of Europe’s debt turmoil under former Premier Silvio Berlusconi. While he’s 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.
Monti, who has never sought elected office, may use a Sunday news conference to announce whether he’ll sit out the election, or heed the call of a group of centrist political parties who want him to run on a platform of continued reforms for the eurozone’s third-largest economy.