Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano greets people as he leaves the Quirinal Presidential Palace in Rome, Italy on January 14, 2015.
Evren Atalay—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
By Dan Kedmey
January 14, 2015

Italy’s 89-year-old president, citing age and “signs of fatigue,” tendered his resignation on Wednesday, leaving the current Prime Minister short of one key ally in an ambitious plan to push legislative reforms through the country’s fractious parliament.

President Giorgio Napolitano cut short his second term in office after acknowledging his fading energy in an end-of-the-year address to the nation, the Wall Street Journal reports. His resignation comes as Italy’s youngest ever Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, prepared a raft of bold economic reforms aimed at lifting the nation’s economy out of a series of painful contractions.

Napolitano had gained a reputation as a seasoned politician who could corral Italy’s divided parliamentarians into voting blocs. His resignation itself is expected to open up a contentious parliamentary vote over a successor.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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