Italy's President Sergio Mattarella rejected Prime Minister Mario Draghi's resignation on Thursday.
Mattarella has directed Draghi to address lawmakers and get a feel for the situation in parliament as the country seeks to exit a political crisis after the Five Star Movement (M5S), a key ally in Draghi's coalition, refused to back the government on a key vote.
Theoretically, Mattarella's refusal to accept Draghi's resignation means that Draghi is now required to seek to form a new coalition, most likely without the M5S, which has clashed with Draghi about Italian policy toward Russia ever since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine this year.
Draghi told the Council of Ministers he would submit his resignation late Thursday to the president, following tensions with his coalition ally.
“The majority of national unity that has sustained this government from its creation doesn’t exist any more," Draghi said in a statement released by his office.
It will be up to President Sergio Mattarella to accept or reject the resignation. But if the government crisis can’t be resolved quickly, Mattarella could pull the plug on Parliament, setting the stage for an election as early as September.
The stability of Draghi's government has been threatened in recent weeks by simmering tensions with the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) party, one of the members of a broad governing coalition.
M5S has heavily criticized the government on topics including the delivery of weapons to Ukraine, which it opposes, and the distribution and amount of government financial support in Italy.
The crisis escalated on Thursday when M5S said it would not participate in a Senate vote on state aid for firms and households impacted by the war in Ukraine, therefore not expressing confidence in Draghi's government.