Rome

Monti rejects Berlusconi's 'PD alliance' claim

Bersani's leftist ally Vendola 'profound obstacle'

Monti rejects Berlusconi's 'PD alliance' claim

Rome, February 13 - Outgoing Premier Mario Monti Wednesday rejected ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's claim that a vote for his coalition was effectively a vote for the Democratic Party (PD). "This is a profound falsehood, which I believe Berlusconi knows," Monti told journalists in Perugia. "In the PD-SEL (center-left) coalition I see many profound obstacles to reforms undertaken by my government that are essential to create a more dynamic Italian economy and society," Monti said. Leader of the left-wing SEL party and center-left coalition partner Nichi Vendola was opposed to Monti's emergency technocrat government, unlike coalition leader Pier Luigi Bersani's Democratic Party (PD), which supported it. Both Vendola and the outgoing premier have said they would not be in the same government together, although the Italian press has speculated they might reach an accomodation. With around 10% of projected votes, Monti's coalition has said it will support any party, right or left, if it upholds the reform policies his government has implemented since replacing Berlusconi at the peak of the euro crisis near the end of 2011. Polls have suggested that Bersani's PD is favoured to win the elections, but may not have a working majority in the Senate. This has led to speculation that Bersani could make a post-election pact with former European commissioner Monti, who is standing for office on a reform platform.

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