Vatican City

Monti to make farewell visit to pope

Caretaker premier expected to be replaced by Letta

Vatican City, April 26 - Pope Francis will receive outgoing Italian Premier Mario Monti for a farewell chat Friday evening at 18:00 local time in the Vatican, the Holy See said. Monti, a practising Catholic, has met Francis twice, but never in a private audience, since the pontiff's surprise election to replace Benedict XVI March 13. The outgoing technocrat Monti, a former European commissioner who dragged Italy back from the brink at the height of the eurozone crisis but then deepened the recession with austerity policies, is expected to be replaced by Democratic Party acting head Enrico Letta at the helm of a right-left coalition at the weekend.

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