Italy president dissolves parliament after Monti's resignation

ROME Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:17pm EST

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's head of state dissolved parliament on Saturday following the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Monti, paving the way for a national election in February.

"I have just signed the decree for the dissolution of parliament," President Giorgio Napolitano told reporters after consulting with political leaders.

Monti resigned on Friday, a couple of months ahead of the end of his term of office, after his government lost the support of Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom party.

The date of the election, widely expected to be February 24, will be decided by Monti's cabinet, which remains in office in a caretaker capacity.

(Reporting by Gavin Jones)