Rome, January 3 - Premier candidate Pier Luigi Bersani, the leader of the center-left Democratic Party (PD), rebuffed outgoing Premier Mario Monti on Thursday for telling him to silence the alleged anti-reform elements within his party's ranks. "I have respect (for Monti), but I ask for respect for the entire PD. We are a liberal party that will never shut anyone up," said Bersani. Earlier Thursday, Monti called on Bersani to "be brave and silence the conservative part of his party a little," referring to opposition to labor-market reform from Italy's biggest trade union confederation, the left-wing CGIL, which has ties to the PD, and from Stefano Fassina, the PD spokesman on economic affairs. Bersani said that courage "did not mean shutting people up, but enabling them to participate".
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di Giovanni Pastore