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Monti says won't stand for election, Berlusconi has right to

Important for 'political game' to resume

Monti says won't stand for election, Berlusconi has right to

(ANSA) - New York, September 26 - Italian Premier Mario Monti has reiterated that he does not intend to run to keep his job in elections next year but said his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi has every right to. There have been calls from some quarters for Monti to stay on to complete the reforms his emergency technocrat government have passed to stop Italy slipping down the path of Greece towards a possible default on its massive national debt. Some experts doubt Italy's political parties will have the courage to stick with unpopular measures deemed necessary to put the country's economic house in order once in office. Polls suggest Monti would muster more votes if he stood in the elections than any of the main party leaders. But Monti, who is in New York for the opening of the 67th session the United Nations General Assembly, is hopeful the country's political class will be up to the challenge. "I will not run in the elections," Monti, who took over the helm of government after Silvio Berlusconi resigned as premier last November with Italy's debt crisis in danger of spiralling out of control, told CNN. "It's important for the political game to resumes in Italy, hopefully with a higher degree of responsibility and maturity. "I don't know if Berlusconi will run in the elections. He would clearly have every right to. He has never left politics, he left the premiership. "I see him as one of the biggest supporters of my government". Berlusconi said he would not run again for office after resigning last year but he has recently hinted he will stand for a fourth term as Italian premier next spring. Opposition politicians have said it would damage Italy's credibility if he did stand, given the way his last government collapsed and some recent comments critical of the European Union and the new Fiscal Pact for tighter economic integration. His People of Freedom (PdL) party has been hit by a corruption scandal that caused its governor in Lazio, the region around Rome, to quit this week. On Tuesday Italian President Giorgio Napolitano described this scandal and others that have recently hit various parts of the country's political spectrum as "shameful". The PdL, which is currently the biggest party in parliament, is second in the polls at the moment, trailing the centre-left Democratic Party by some distance. Monti is set to address the UN General Assembly later on Wednesday.

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