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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Berlusconi Announces Resignation

ROME -- Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday he will resign and immediately form a new government in a bid to overcome a political crisis that has undermined his ruling coalition.

Berlusconi had been struggling with the worst crisis in his four years in government since a crushing defeat at a regional vote this month.

"This time, no surprises. Today I resign and I go to the head of state," Berlusconi told the ANSA news agency.

Berlusconi said in an address to the Senate that he would form a new government to strengthen his weakened coalition.

The resignation crushes Berlusconi's ambition to make his government the first one since World War II to serve the full five-year term.

Berlusconi has been struggling to hold his government together, and a senior coalition partner threatened Tuesday to quit the government.

The National Alliance party said it would still support the center-right coalition, but that the continued participation of its ministers "depends solely on what Berlusconi will say and do."

National Alliance ministers had prepared letters of resignation and the party's leaders were preparing to meet following Berlusconi's address to parliament. If its five ministers resign from the Cabinet, there is little chance the government can survive, and Berlusconi would likely be forced into early elections.