Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni formally resigned Saturday following the election of new parliament speakers, but was immediately asked by the president to stay on while the country's political factions jostle to try to form a new government.

Italy's inconclusive March 4 election saw a surge in populist and right-wing sentiment but produced no majority in parliament.

The transition of power got underway in earnest Saturday after lawmakers voted to give the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement the leadership of one chamber of parliament and Silvio Berlusconi's right-wing Forza Italia leadership of the other.

Forza Italia Sen. Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, a longtime Berlusconi ally, became the first woman to be elected Senate president.

In an emotional acceptance speech, she said she wanted to share the victory with "all the women whose histories, actions, examples, commitment and courage have built Italy today."

The conservative alliance had come close to collapse on Friday after the League sided with 5-Star to reject Forza Italia's first choice for the Senate position, with Berlusconi accusing Salvini of betrayal.

This was a first sign the League could join forces with 5-Star on concrete issues and that Berlusconi had to play second fiddle to Salvini.

Both the League and 5-Star have voiced fierce hostility to EU budget rules and markets are likely to be spooked by any sign they might form a coalition. However, their divergent economic platforms have represented a serious hurdle to alliance deals so far.