Milan

Monti will 'leave government to others' within months

Premier had said would stay on if no clear winner in elections

Monti will 'leave government to others' within months

(ANSA) - Milan, October 1 - Premier Mario Monti said on Monday that he and his emergency cabinet of non-political technocrat ministers "will leave the government to others in the next few months". The comments came after Monti shook up the Italian political scene last week when he said he would be willing to stay on as premier "in special circumstances" if no clear political winner emerged from next spring's elections. At the time the former European commissioner, who stepped in to lead an emergency administration of non-political technocrats when the financial crisis forced Silvio Berlusconi to resign as premier last November, stressed that he hoped these circumstances did not occur. But the opening, which came after he had repeatedly said he would not stand, was enough to lead some centrist parties, including the Catholic UDC, to say they would like to present an electoral list to campaign to give Monti a second term. Ferrari President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said he would back a Monti list too. However, the centre-right Democratic Party, which is currently ahead in the polls, and Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL), which is the biggest group in parliament and second in the polls, have expressed scepticism about the prospects of another Monti government. Both have said the country needs to return to normality, with political leaders running the government. The centrists, however, say Monti should stay on to complete the reforms his emergency technocrat government has launched 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. Italy's industrial employers' confederation Confindustria said on Monday that the prospect of Monti staying on at the helm of government would only be acceptable if it were in some way legitimized at elections. "With the legitimacy of the vote, it would be perfectly fine for me," Confindustria chief Giorgio Squinzi told ANSA when asked about the possibility of a second Monti-led government. "I repeat I believe that first it is necessary to go through the legitimacy of a vote".

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