ROME (REUTERS) - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano is considering resigning immediately to allow new elections after attempts to form a government failed this week, a person close to the situation said on Saturday.
"The idea is on the table along with many others," said the person, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, adding that the president would probably make a statement on the next steps later in the day.
All of Italy's main newspapers reported that Mr Napolitano, whose term ends on May 15, was considering going early to get around constitutional provisions which prevent a president dissolving parliament in the final months of his mandate.
The 87-year-old head of state met leaders of the main parties on Friday to try to find a way out of a stalemate since an election in February, which raised fears of extended political instability in the euro zone's third-largest economy.
However with all of the three main groups in parliament clinging to entrenched positions that have prevented a majority being formed, hopes of a solution that would avoid early elections have faded.