Italian premier Matteo Renzi has resigned after a humiliating defeat on his reforms agenda that was central to his nearly three-year-long government.
But President Sergio Mattarella asked him on Wednesday evening to stay on in a caretaker role until a new government can be put in place.
A presidential aide, Ugo Zampetti, told reporters that Mr Mattarella will start consultations late on Thursday with various party leaders to see where support lies for a new government.
Mr Renzi tried to resign on Monday, but Mr Mattarella told him to stay on until Parliament gave final approval to the 2017 national budget legislation.
The Senate approved the budget earlier on Wednesday.