22 December 2012 Last updated at 16:32
Italy's parliament has been dissolved by President Giorgio Napolitano following caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti's resignation.
The move paves the way for national elections expected in February.
Mr Monti, brought in last year to form a technocratic government, stepped down on Friday after MPs passed his budget.
It followed the withdrawal of support from former PM Silvio Berlusconi's party. Mr Berlusconi is to run again. Mr Monti has not unveiled his plans.
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