Departure of countrys youngest PM to come days after president put temporary freeze on his exit to allow budget to pass
Matteo Renzi has formally submitted his resignation, nearly three years after he became Italys youngest ever prime minister.
The resignation was delivered to Sergio Mattarella, Italys president, two days after he first attempted to quit after suffering a resounding defeat in Sundays referendum on constitutional reform.
On Monday, Mattarella asked the prime minister to stay in office to oversee the final passage of the 2017 budget, which was passed on Wednesday, laying the groundwork for Renzis departure from office.
But even in the hours before his resignation, Renzi was seeking to pave a path however uncertain for his eventual return.
In a note posted on his website, and in a highly anticipated speech before lawmakers in his Democratic party (PD), Renzi finally offered a plan for how he believed the party should move forward. He called on opposition parties to join the PD to form a new government that would tackle the countrys challenges and international obligations.
Other parties have to share the burden, he said, adding that it would be difficult to sustain a situation in which the PD was depicted in the media every day and every night as a government that had not legitimately been elected, a frequent criticism of Renzis government after he entered office following an intra-party coup.
If they failed to agree, Renzi said, new elections should be called as soon as the countrys constitutional court issued its verdict on an electoral law that is under review and may need to be changed. The verdict is due 24 January.
The Democratic party is not afraid of democracy. The Democratic party is not afraid of votes, he said.
It was unclear until Wednesday afternoon when Renzi would actually leave the prime ministers office. But, an avid fan of social media, he confirmed his official resignation on Twitter after the budget passed, writing: Formal resignation at 7pm. Thanks to all and long live Italy.
His departure was set in motion when it became clear that nearly 60% of Italians had voted to reject the sweeping changes to Italys constitution and parliamentary system that were backed by the outgoing prime minister. The resounding defeat was not only seen as a rejection of the reforms, but as a vote of no confidence in Renzi, who said he would step down if the vote went against him.