Italy crisis: Italians share their views
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has confirmed he intends to resign after key economic reforms have been approved.
BBC website readers from Italy have been sharing their thoughts on the current crisis.
Antonio Liuni, computer consultant in Rome, aged 44
In the last few elections I've avoided voting: I'd use any excuse, even going to the beach.
If I'd been forced to vote, I would probably have voted for Berlusconi: I've never supported him but I'm on the centre-right of politics.
Over time, Berlusconi lost a lot of support and it's better that he should leave. He fought to the last minute but he should have resigned long ago. We would be in a better situation now if he had.
The big problem in Italy is that we have no valid alternative at present. There are lots of decent people but not within the upper level of politics. Of course, people on the left will say their politicians are better, but they're not.
I hope we won't have early elections but a coalition government that will push forward austerity measures.
There will be strikes and protests as a result, but it is the only way to regain our credibility with Europe.
The underlying problem in Italy is the system. Even forgetting the extremes, such as the Mafia, there are just too many connections between power and economics.
The system isn't corrupt as such, but the people in power spoil Italy. They have taken everything from the next generation.
Lorenzo Rinaldi, postgraduate research student living in Spain, 25
Berlusconi has destroyed the prospects of an entire generation, forcing young students like me to leave Italy.
I moved to Barcelona, Spain, to do my Masters because there were not enough research positions in Italy in my field of bio-medicine. I'm hoping to do a PhD but I might have to move to London or Cambridge.
Italy is just behind Greece in terms of how bad the economic situation is, which is very sad because we have a lot of resources.
We need someone younger in power - Berlusconi is 75. I never voted for him, I've always been left-wing.
Our politicians earn huge salaries. They are thinking about themselves and are led by someone who is only concerned with his own interests.
Giuseppina Porcu, student, Sassari
I hope that on Wednesday parliament will be able to convince Berlusconi to leave his role immediately. He should give us the opportunity to establish a new government, not decide on austerity measures.
The best thing for Italy would be a change of government but people in power are greedy: they're trying to hold onto personal interests, not those of the people.
What the politicians need to do is cut their own spending. Political spending is very high in Italy, with politicians having private cars and free luxury travel.
The government needs to spend more on services and less on politicians. Italians wouldn't be happy if the government put forward more austerity plans.
I'm very worried about the situation because I'm a civil engineering MA student and there are no jobs in my field.
To continue with further education or to get a job, I'll need to go abroad.
Pietro, Milan, banker, 42
I've voted for Mr Berlusconi in the past but resigning was his only option this time. Although I have nothing against him, he definitely had to go.
In the last two years, Italy's international press coverage has focused more on Berlusconi in a personal capacity - namely his bedtime activities, hairstyle, his problems with the law, his ability to crack jokes - than anything else.
Such capabilities are more common for a second-tier celebrity than a prime minister of one of the most advanced economies in the world: Italy is the cradle of modern culture and modern jurisprudence. He is not up for the job.
What happens to Italy now depends on whether the government stays in its current form or whether we have new elections.
The people we voted in should find a solution, we are in a democracy. The situation won't get as bad as it is in Greece. We have had 10 years of low growth but we can do a lot more.
I'll be happy if the EU believes in us and we can strengthen the economy.
I try not to worry, although working in a bank is not safe anywhere in the world.
Paolo from Cagliari
Berlusconi has managed to brainwash lots of people thanks to his media-control and its scaremongering of communists.
Berlusconi is brilliant at making his problems go away, either by accusing the opposition of not having any ideas, or by making people believe the "communist judges" (as he describes them) are against him.
The sooner Mr Berlusconi goes, the better it will be for everyone else.
Fabio Rigat, Siena
I didn't expect Berlusconi to resign. I hope that this will not mean political instability for Italy.
When I was younger, we had a new government every year and I wouldn't want that to happen again now. Berlusconi is the only one in recent years that has given political stability.
On the other hand there may be a viable and stable alternative to the current government. This could be a good opportunity for the centre-left to come together and provide alternative leadership.
Pier Luigi Bersani on the centre-left may have good ideas about how to manage the country. Or perhaps Gianfranco Fini - on the right - will seize this chance and prepare something.
More of your comments:
Nicoletta in Rome writes: Italy's severe crisis has mainly been caused by the unfair, wrong and short-sighted policies carried on by Berlusconi's government, though they keep on saying that it is due to the 'global crisis'. Berlusconi's decision has come too late.
Alessio in Treviso writes: The Italian economy has too many weaknesses, maybe because we are not good enough at business, or maybe because public administrations waste too much money. Our politicians had a lot of chances but no-one has the skills to make the right decisions and make reforms - they are inept. In the good old times we didn't care, but now things are different.
Paolo in Como writes: The whole political and economic 'elite' of this country need to go as soon as possible. They've clearly shown they're incapable, to say the least, and honestly, it would be better to get some sort of compulsory administration from the EU than to be ruled by the same people over and over again.