Italian President Sergio Mattarella dissolved parliament on Thursday, setting the country on the path to a national election likely in March that could lead to a hung parliament and a period of political turbulence, Bloomberg reports.
The head of state signed a decree ending the legislative sessions in both houses of parliament, according to an emailed statement from Mattarella’s office.
Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni is scheduled to head a cabinet meeting on Thursday evening, when the government is expected to set the election for March 4. At a traditional end-of-year news conference earlier on Thursday, Gentiloni played down the risk of political turbulence ahead.
“We mustn’t dramatize the issue of political instability, which is certainly an issue but rather than being worried about it, we should tackle it knowing that we’re pretty much vaccinated against it,” Gentiloni said. Frequent change of government “is not a recent phenomenon and it hasn’t stopped our country growing,” he added.