Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has promised to resign after parliament passes economic reforms, Italy's president has said.
The reforms are demanded by the European Union to save Italy from getting engulfed further in Europe's debt crisis.
President Giorgio Napolitano met for about an hour with Berlusconi after the premier lost his parliamentary majority during a routine vote earlier.
In a statement, Napolitano's office said Berlusconi had promised during the meeting to resign once the economic reforms have passed parliament.
A vote on the measures is planned for next week.
The move caps a two-decade political career that has ended with Italy on the brink of being swept into the debt crisis.
Mr Berlusconi says his decision to resign is for the good of the country, and to settle financial markets that have lost confidence in Italy's ability to cut debt and encourage growth.
Mr Berlusconi said he would prefer to call early elections, but that the decision rests with Mr Napolitano.
In comments that marked a dramatic shift from his normally defiant tone, Mr Berlusconi conceded he had lost his parliamentary majority during a routine vote and that "things like who leads or who doesn't lead the government" is less important than doing "what is right for the country".