Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella dissolved parliament on Thursday as the country prepares for knife-edge general elections in March.
Next year’s elections, to be held on March 4, may mark a new era of uncertainty for the country.
With the vote expected to be split between the right, center-left and the populist Five Star movement, the next parliament could be left without a clear majority.
But in a country that has had 64 governments since 1946, instability is nothing new.
Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni is the third leader of the parliament that was elected in 2013. He is expected to stay in office until the creation of a new government following elections.
Gentiloni visited Mattarella on Thursday to announce that work was finished on adopting the 2018 budget, which passed last week.