ROME, May 2 (Reuters) Italy's outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told his cabinet today that he was going to tender his resignation to the president, Communications Minister Mario Landolfi told reporters.
Berlusconi's resignation starts the countdown to the formation of a new government headed by centre-left leader Romano Prodi.
Berlusconi left the cabinet meeting to drive to the palace of President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, who could ask Prodi to form a government by the end of this week.
Berlusconi, who will continue in a caretaker capacity until a new administration is installed, had contested the result of the April 9-10 general election which handed Prodi a razor-thin victory.
However, he was forced to quit after the new parliament elected speakers at the weekend for the lower and upper houses, both from the centre-left coalition, showing Prodi can control the two chambers with his slim majority.
REUTERS CH PM1700