ROME, FEB. 10 -- Italian Prime Minister Giovanni Goria told parliament today he was resigning.
Goria, a Christian Democrat, handed his resignation to President Francesco Cossiga, officials at the head of state's palace announced.
They said Cossiga had "reserved his decision" on whether to accept Goria's resignation and asked him to remain at his post to handle outstanding government business.
Goria, who has led a five-party coalition since July 29, has been under heavy pressure to step down for several weeks since rebel deputies, mainly from his own party, repeatedly voted with the opposition in secret ballots to reject articles of the 1988 budget and finance bill.
The rebel deputies were determined to force Goria out as part of a campaign by Christian Democratic dissidents against party leader Ciriaco de Mita, who is up for reelection at a party congress in April.
Until today, Goria had insisted that his government of Christian Democrats, Socialists, Republicans, Social Democrats and Liberals must stay on until the budget and finance bill was approved by both houses of parliament.
But he finally decided to go after another humiliating slap in the face today, when deputies threw out a funding measure for the Finance Ministry. In an emergency Cabinet meeting Goria agreed to resign.
Goria told parliament that he had asked the deputies to show a sense of responsibility so the budget and finance bill could be passed for the sake of the country. After that he had promised a discussion of the political situation.
"Unfortunately, despite the government's appeal, this sense of responsibility has been lacking," Goria said, adding that there were differences within the coalition on how to deal with the situation. He would therefore resign, he said.
Goria came to power last July after general elections in June that did little to solve a four-month political crisis caused by a long-running power struggle between the majority Christian Democrats and the Socialists, second-largest party in Goria's government.
Goria's administration, based on an uneasy alliance among five parties who have ruled Italy for most of the last six years, was always seen as a weak, stop-gap administration, but it had been expected to last until the Christian Democratic congress in April.