Rome

Monti says Merkel not interfering in Italian campaign

Outgoing premier suggested chancellor against centre-left win

Monti says Merkel not interfering in Italian campaign

Rome, February 21 - Outgoing Premier Mario Monti said Thursday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was not interfering in Italy's election campaign, a day after he dragged her into the run-up for Sunday and Monday's vote. Monti said Wednesday that he did not think Merkel would be pleased if Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left coalition wins the vote. This prompted the German government to say it would not intervene in the election campaign. Centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi, meanwhile, said Monti had won Merkel's blessing to form a post-election pact with Bersani. "Neither I nor Berlusconi need Merkel's blessing," said Monti, who took the helm of an emergency government of unelected technocrats in November 2011 and is standing on a reform platform backed by centrist parties. "I am very aware that Chancellor Merkel would not intervene in the Italian elections. It's not true and it's not even close to being true".

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