Italy's president has given the recently resigned premier, Giuseppe Conte, a fresh mandate to see if he can cobble together a new government backed by the populist 5-Star Movement and centre-left Democrats.
The two parties have banded together in an unlikely alliance to block hard-line League leader Matteo Salvini's power grab.
A spokesman for Italian president Sergio Mattarella said Thursday that Conte had accepted the conditional mandate.
Conte will now start talks with parties to try to form a government, and will report back progress to the president.
The new alliance appears to forestall elections. But even if Conte cobbles together a government, political analysts warn it is unlikely to last.