Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta officially submitted his resignation to President Giorgio Napolitano Friday.
Letta was received at the presidential palace late in the morning, and had a 50-minute talk with the head of state, after holding his last cabinet meeting as scheduled, Xinhua reported.
Centre-right Forza Italia party and other opposition forces made a call for Letta to go before parliament and explain the reasons of his step, in order to give more "formality" to a political crisis that broke entirely from within the main ruling Partito Democratico (PD) or Democratic Party. Their request, however, was dismissed.
President Napolitano, 88, is due now to begin a round of consultations with all parliamentary parties to see if a majority can be secured around a new appointed premier and thus try avoid snap elections.
The first consultations will begin Friday afternoon and will end Saturday, the president stated.
Both the president and the parties seemed quite aware that prolonged instability might harm Italy before international observers.
European countries' comments seemed to corroborate this fear. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, through her spokesman, said that "Germany is following the crisis with great attention and it wishes for a swift solution".