Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has handed in his resignation to Italy’s president, three days after losing a referendum he had staked his career on, the BBC reports.
He had promised to wait until the Senate passed the 2017 budget, which it did earlier in the day.
President Sergio Mattarella will start consultations with political parties over forming a caretaker government at 18:00 (17:00 GMT) on Thursday.
In the meantime, Mr Renzi is to act as a “caretaker prime minister”.
The consultation, which is due to end on Saturday afternoon, will look at where support lies for a new government, a presidential aide, Ugo Zampetti, told reporters on Wednesday.