Italy faces vote as Monti leaves, Berlusconi returns
ROME (AFP) - Italian officials on Sunday readied for early elections after Prime Minister Mario Monti said he would soon resign and his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi announced he would run for the top job for the sixth time in two decades.
Mr Monti on Saturday said he would step down as soon as parliament approved next year's budget, which means elections could now be held as early as February - well before the government's mandate runs out in late April.
"I have matured in my conviction that we could not continue like this any longer," Mr Monti was quoted as saying in an interview with top-selling daily Corriere della Sera, a day after his dramatic move.
Mr Monti said he made his decision after Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party withdrew its support for him last week.