Premier Silvio Berlusconi said he will resign, news reports said Wednesday, ending the country's longest-serving postwar government.
Berlusconi had been struggling with the worst crisis in his four years in government since a crushing defeat at a regional vote this month. The report by ANSA and Apcom news agencies came minutes before he was scheduled to address the Senate.
It was not immediately clear if Berlusconi would try to form a fresh government with a new platform and a strengthened coalition, as his allies demand, or be forced into early elections.
The resignation, if confirmed, would crush Berlusconi's ambition to make his government the first one since World War II to serve the full five-year term.
ALESSANDRA RIZZO, Associated Press Writer
The Kremlin has taken two strong steps in a war of nerves that has caused quite a stir in the NATO-Ukraine alliance