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Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta to resign

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has said he will resign on Friday after his Democratic Party called for him to step aside to make way for a new government. Party leader Matteo Renzi is expected to fill the position.

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Italy's PM Letta to resign

"I informed the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, of my intention to go to (his office) tomorrow to hand over my resignation," Prime Minister Letta said in a statement on Thursday.

He announced his decision minutes after his center-left Democratic Party overwhelmingly backed a proposal by leader Matteo Renzi to withdraw support from Letta and form a new government.

"Italy cannot live in a situation of uncertainty and instability. We are at a crossroads," Renzi, the mayor of Florence, told the leadership committee in Rome. Letta did not attend the meeting.

President Napolitano is widely expected to ask Renzi to form a new government. If chosen, he would become Italy's fourth prime minister in four years.

Growing criticism over the slow pace of economic reform has left Letta increasingly isolated. He was appointed to lead the cross-party coalition cobbled together after last year's deadlocked elections.

hc/mkg (AP, dpa)

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