Monti balks at second term but Berlusconi could yet return
Italian premier Mario Monti has ruled out running for office when his term ends.
However, a close ally of Mr Monti’s predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi, said he might enter the race to take back the job he quit.
Mr Monti, appointed to head a government of technocrats when Mr Berlusconi resigned at the height of Italy’s financial crisis, gave up his second post of finance minister yesterday. His ministerial deputy, Vittorio Grilli, who has already filled in for Mr Monti at several European Union finance meetings so the premier could tend to government matters, takes over the job.
Speaking after a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels, Mr Monti said he has always ruled out remaining in office after elections next spring, but that he would remain active as a senator for life. After Mr Berlusconi stepped down in November, under fire for his erratic leadership, Mr Monti’s government took over, securing parliament’s backing for tax rises and spending cuts and moving forward with pension and labour reform.
But entrenched lobbies have resisted his efforts and there are indications some of his support is fading as elections grow closer.
A close ally of three-time premier Mr Berlusconi, meanwhile, said a movement was growing to support an effort to return him to the top post.
Angelino Alfano, who now heads the People of Liberties party, said: “I believe in the end he will decide [to run].”
Media mogul and billionaire Mr Berlusconi is on trial in Milan on charges of paying for sex with an under-age Moroccan prostitute and then using his office to try to cover it up. He has denied the charges.
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