Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti's new government faced a crisis Saturday that could force its resignation within the next few days, commentators said.

The crisis was provoked by Giorgio La Malfa, 51, leader of the small Republican Party, who objected strongly to the ministerial posts assigned to the three Republicans in the Cabinet list Andreotti announced Friday.La Malfa said in a press statement the 72-year-old Christian Democrat prime minister had gone back on his promise to confirm the three Republican ministers in the posts they held in the government Andreotti resigned March 29.

"In these conditions, having told the party there was an agreement, which then was not carried out, I can only draw the consequences and therefore tender my resignation (as party secretary)," La Malfa's statement said.