Rome

Monti says he hopes Berlusconi does not expect to win vote

Outgoing premier trades jabs with predecessor in election run-up

Monti says he hopes Berlusconi does not expect to win vote

Rome, January 9 - Outgoing Italian Premier Mario Monti showed some campaign claws Wednesday, saying he hopes rival Silvio Berlusconi is not getting his hopes up for a victory. "I hope he doesn't have hopes," to win the election on February 25 and 26, Monti said during a radio interview. Monti, speaking on Radio Monte Carlo, had been asked if he shared the opinion that Berlusconi has hopes of another electoral victory. Ex-premier Berlusconi, leader of the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, has been campaigning hard. He has even pledged that if his centre-right coalition with the Northern League wins, he will not try to be premier for a fourth time. At the same time, he has fired numerous criticisms at Monti, brought in 14 months ago to head a technocratic government after Berlusconi was forced to step down.

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