Italy's Monti to lead coalition at parliamentary election

Italy's Monti to lead coalition at parliamentary election

PanARMENIAN.Net - Italy's outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti is to lead a coalition of center parties going into a parliamentary election in February, according to BBC News.

Speaking to reporters after four hours of talks with centrist politicians, he said he was willing to be "named leader of the coalition".

He resigned after 13 months as prime minister when predecessor Silvio Berlusconi withdrew his support.

The Vatican newspaper backs Monti's bid to return as prime minister.

"A new political formation has been born," Mr Monti said.

A single reform list, grouping together centrist parties, would stand for election to the Senate under the provisional title "Monti's agenda for Italy", he said.

But in the lower house, the chamber of deputies, there would be a coalition of centrist parties, including the Christian Democrat UDC.

As senator for life, Monti cannot stand for election, but he is able to take part in the campaign and could return to the post of prime minister if a centrist coalition were successful. He was brought in to form a technocratic government last year after the government of Silvio Berlusconi collapsed under pressure from the financial markets.

Monti, a former economics professor and European Union Commissioner, was chosen to impose financial rigor on the economy.

Monti has described his 13 months in office as "difficult but fascinating". "The work we did... has made the country more trustworthy... more competitive and attractive to foreign investors," he said.

However ordinary Italians have been hard hit by the combination of tax rises and spending cuts Monti has imposed to repair Italy's public finances and it is uncertain how well he will fare in the election on 24-25 February.

The left-wing Democratic Party (PD) is currently leading the opinion polls, while Silvio Berlusconi will lead the challenge from the right as head of his PDL party.

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