MARIO Monti has resigned as Italy’s prime minister, honouring his pledge to step down as soon as MPs passed his budget bill into law.
President Giorgio Napolitano accepted the resignation last night and asked Mr Monti to remain in charge until a general election, expected in February.
Speaking in Rome earlier, Mr Monti claimed his year-old technocratic government had transformed Italy’s ability to attract foreign investment.
“The work we did in the last 12 months has made the country more trustworthy, besides more competitive and attractive to foreign investors,” Mr Monti told a gathering of diplomats, who gave him a standing ovation. “I hope that it can continue this way also in the next legislative session.”
He cited structural reforms, such as measures to improve competition and liberalise services, as well as the recently approved anti-corruption law.
Mr Monti took over as head of an expert-based government in November 2011 as Italy’s borrowing costs soared in a clear market vote of no-confidence in former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s ability to reform Italy’s economy.
Mr Monti pledged to resign after Mr Berlusconi’s parliamentary party removed its support for his government, bringing forward national elections.
The premier will give his end-of-year news conference tomorrow, when he is expected to announce whether he will participate in the forthcoming election campaign.
Mr Berlusconi has been toying with a return to electoral politics – after inviting Mr Monti to run under a conservative banner.
The leader of the centre-left in Italy, Pier Luigi Bersani, is among those critical of Mr Monti entering the contest.