MILAN -- Mario Monti has handed in his resignation to Italy's president, bringing to a close his 13-month technical government and preparing the country for national elections.

President Giorgio Napolitano accepted the resignation Friday evening and asked Monti to stay on as head of a caretaker government until the vote, expected in February.

Monti kept his pledge to step down as soon as Parliament gives final passage to the budget law.

In what was his last official public act as premier, Monti earlier told foreign diplomats in Rome Friday that his year-old technical government had rendered the country "more trustworthy."

He cited structural reforms, such as measures to improve competition and liberalize services, as well as the recently approved anti-corruption law.