ROME -- Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani's 46th postwar government Tuesday lost a vote of confidence in Parliament, forcing President Francesco Cossiga to dissolve Parliament.
Fanfani's defeat on the vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies was engineered by his own Christian Democratic party. The vote and his resignation were the latest developments in Italy's 8-week-old government crisis.
Immediately after Fanfani, 79, informed Cossiga of his 11-day-old government's resignation, Cossiga dissolved Parliament and summoned the presidents of both houses to tell them he intended to call early elections.
The Cabinet met briefly and announced the elections would be held June 14, a year ahead of schedule.
Cossiga asked Fanfani to stay on as prime minister in a caretaker capacity and to organize the elections. The prospect of elections in June raised doubts about about whether President Reagan will visit Italy as scheduled June 3-7.
But a summit conference of the West's seven top industrial powers scheduled for Venice June 8-10 was not expected to be affected. Reagan planned to go the summit after visiting Rome.
Fanfani's resignation was inevitable after Parliament's lower house voted 240 to 131 with 193 abstentions against a confidence motion that would have -- at least technically if he had won -- confirmed his government in office.
But Fanfani announced Monday that even if a 'fake' majority of left-wing parties, hoping to avert postponement of national referendums scheduled for June 14, succeeded in giving him victory in the confidence test, he would resign anyway.
The collapse of Fanfani's short-lived government cleared the way for Cossiga to dissolve Parliament and call national elections, a year ahead of schedule, because of the impossibility of forming a majority government.
The circumstances in which the Chamber of Deputies defeated Fanfani's government were typical of the chaotic political situation that caused Italy's crisis to drag on for eight weeks.
After the Socialist Party of former PrimeMinister Bettino Craxi announced it would vote in favor of Fanfani's government, the Christian Democrats announced they would abstain in the vote to ensure its defeat, in the interest of forcing new elections.
'If this comedy, already mediocre, has become intolerable and risky, the best thing is to ring down the curtain,' Christian Democrat floor leader Mino Martinazzoli told the lower house in explaining his party's decision to abstain.