Rome

Bersani doesn't want Monti to run, will cooperate if he does

Premier should stay out of campaign, says centre-left leader

Bersani doesn't want Monti to run, will cooperate if he does

(see related stories) Rome, December 13 - Democratic Party (PD) leader Pier Luigi Bersani reiterated on Thursday that he does not think Premier Mario Monti should run in Italy's upcoming elections, but stressed he would cooperate with the former European commissioner if he does. "Mario Monti should stay out of the election campaign," Bersani, who is the centre left's premier candidate and is favourite to win the elections with the PD ahead in the polls, told German daily Die Welt. "If, however, he does decide to stand, we'll respect this decision and we'll show our willingness to cooperate". There is speculation Monti could be the premier candidate for a group of centrist parties at elections expected to take place mid-to-late February. Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday he would not stand for a fourth term as Italian premier if Monti agreed to lead a broad coalition, including the media magnate's People of Freedom (PdL) party, the centrist UDC and the populist, regionalist Northern League. Political pundits consider it unlikely that Monti would agree to Berlusconi's proposal. Monti said at the weekend that he would quit as premier when the 2013 budget law is approved after the PdL withdrew its support from his emergency technocrat administration.

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