Berlusconi to quit after parliament passes reforms

By the Associated Press | November 12, 2011 | 5:25 AM EST

A display shows the results of a voting session on economic reform measures demanded by the European Union, that should pave the way for Premier Silvio Berlusconi to leave office in a matter of days, at the Senate in Rome, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. The prospect of a transitional government headed by respected non-partisan economist Mario Monti calmed markets for a second day, with Italy's 10-year borrowing rate down a further 0.21 percentage point to 6.59 percent. Shares were buoyant too, with the Milan stock index was up 1.7 percent in early trading at 15,477. The green lights indicate the members in favour of the vote and the red against. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

ROME (AP) — Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi is expected to resign after parliament's lower chamber passes European-demanded reforms, amid continued debate among the embattled leader's allies over who should take his place.

While respected economist Mario Monti is clearly the top choice of Italy's president and international markets to steer the country out of its debt crisis, members of Berlusconi's own Peoples of Liberty Party and allied Northern League remain split.

It isn't clear if the opposition will be enough to scuttle President Giorgio Napolitano's apparent plan to ask Monti to try to form a government once Berlusconi resigns, which is expected Saturday afternoon after the Chamber of Deputies approves economic reforms.