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Italy's Monti to consider leadership in case "agenda" upheld

By Marzia De Giuli (Xinhua)

11:13, December 24, 2012

ROME, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- Italy's caretaker prime minister Mario Monti said on Sunday that he could consider to head a coalition of political forces in line with his program and eventually accept a second mandate as premier if they ask him.

Speaking at his end-of-year press conference in Rome, Monti said that, having been appointed by President Giorgio Napolitano as a life senator at the parliament upper chamber, presently he is not going to enter the race for upcoming general elections.

Nonetheless, he said, should a political force or coalition, while offering a credible program in line with his recommendations, propose him to stand for a second mandate, he would consider such condition.

"If one or more political forces, which have firmly adhered to my agenda, show the intention to candidate me as prime minister, I would consider it. Nobody could impede this," he said.

"I am ready to offer my appreciation, encouragement and, if asked, my leadership to those forces that show wholehearted and credible adhesion to my agenda......and I am ready, if required by the circumstances one day, to assume the responsibilities entrusted to me by the parliament," he added.

Monti said that, although he presently is not going to line up with any parties, he would like political and social forces to line up with his ideas.

During the press conference, he presented the main points of an "agenda" that will be published soon and would be addressed neither to the right or left,"nor to the center." It would be an "erga omnes" program instead, that "everyone who find it interesting could consider," he highlighted.

Among the recommendations of the Monti agenda, titled "Change Italy, reform Europe: agenda for the joint commitment," there would be the imperative for the next political government "not to destroy what has been done with great sacrifice" by his one-year emergency cabinet, Monti said.

He said that trying to remove a series of painful tax hikes introduced by his emergency government, which took the helm of the Mediterranan country as it was on the edge of a "dramatic" debt crisis in November 2011, would be a big mistake and extremely costly for next generations.

"After one year of work, I can say that the financial emergency has been overcome, and Italians can be European citizens with their head held high again," Monti said. He also added that not seeking for "the easy way" of external help has revealed to be a right choice for Italy, being the country's economic fundamentals solid.

Napolitano on Saturday dissolved parliament, which came following Monti's formal resignation after both the chambers approved the 2013 budget law.

Monti had announced his early resignation on Dec. 8 after former premier Silvio Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom party (PdL) withdrew support from the emergency cabinet, and had said he would step back after parliament passed the budget law.

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