Italian premier Giuseppe Conte has told senators he is handing in his resignation because his right-wing coalition partner, the League party led by interior minister Matteo Salvini, has decided to withdraw support for the populist government.
Mr Conte said he will go later today to officially inform President Sergio Mattarella of his decision.
Mr Mattarella, as head of state, could ask Mr Conte to stay on and try to find an alternative majority in parliament, or accept his resignation and see if another leader can forge an alternative coalition.
Failing that, the president could dissolve parliament, setting the stage for a new general election as early as October.
- Press Association