The expected showdown is happening between Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, who has told senators he is handing in his resignation, and his right-wing coalition partner, League party leader and Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, who pulled his support for the populist government, on Tuesday, August 20th.
The development could put an end to the populist government forged only 14 months ago. Salvini triggered the crisis in the middle of the summer, when he announced he no longer believed in the coalition and yanked his support for the joint government.
He has appeared confident at the prospect of an early vote, since he has been positioning himself to become Italy's next leader for a while, and continued to show that demeanour when he addressed senators on Tuesday, saying he would "do again everything I did ... I'm a free man and I don't fear Italians' judgment."
Conte on the other hand, blasted Salvini during an earlier speech, for the "irresponsible" move that has abruptly interrupted the work of the government, AP reported.
He added that Salvini has acted only to pursue his "personal interests" and stressed that the sudden government crisis puts Italy at risk of "political and financial instability".
Conte handed in his resignation but has still to officially inform Italian President Sergio Mattarella of his decision. Mattarella, as head of state, has the power to ask Conte to stay on and try to find an alternative majority in Parliament, or accept his resignation and see if some other leader can forge an alternative coalition.
Failing that, Mattarella could dissolve Parliament, setting the stage for a new general election as early as October.