Italian President Sergio Mattarella says several parties have told him they need more time to resolve a government crisis and avoid a snap election, so he has told them to report back next week.
Mattarella told reporters that dissolving parliament was a decision that should not be taken lightly.
"The crisis must be solved with clear decisions and in a short time," he told reporters at the Quirinale Palace on Thursday.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned this week after the leader of the ruling League party, Matteo Salvini, announced that his coalition with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement was no longer workable and called for an early election.
However, only Mattarella can dissolve parliament and he made clear he would do so only if the parties are unable to reach a deal to form a new government.
He has told the parties to report back to him on Tuesday.
Australian Associated Press