Italy's centre-left 'very ready' to work with Monti

Bersani's alliance may not have working majority if wins vote

Italy's centre-left 'very ready' to work with Monti

(see related stories) Berlin, February 5 - Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani on Tuesday said he would be willing to work with outgoing Premier Mario Monti after this month's general election. Bersani's alliance is in front in the opinion polls with over a third of Italians expected to vote for it, but ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right coalition has been gaining ground in recent weeks. The centre left, led by Bersani's Democratic Party (PD), is still favourite to win the election, but it may not have a working majority in parliament. This has led to speculation that Bersani could make a post-election pact with former European commissioner Monti, who took the helm of an emergency government in November 2011 and is standing for office on a reform platform backed by several centrist parties. "We are very ready to cooperate with all the forces that are against the Northern League, against Berlusconi, against populism," Bersani said in Berlin. "And therefore certainly with professor Monti," he added, stressing that the PD had wanted and supported Monti's administration of unelected technocrats. The hypothesis of working with Monti could be problematic because the PD is allied with the left-wing SEL party, which was staunchly opposed to Monti's government. Monti, whose ticket was fourth in a poll released Tuesday, has repeatedly said the PD's ties with SEL will make it difficult for the centre left to govern effectively if it wins the election. Both SEL leader Nichi Vendola, the governor of Puglia, and the outgoing premier have said they would not be in the same government together.

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