Mario Monti to lead Italy centrist coalition


Mario Monti had planned to serve until April 2013 when the current parliamentary term runs out.


Gabriel Bouys

Outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has said he will lead a coalition of center parties going into a parliamentary election in February.

After four hours of talks with centrist politicians, Monti, 69, told reporters he was willing to be "named leader of the coalition," reported BBC News. He had resigned after 13 months as prime minister when predecessor Silvio Berlusconi withdrew his support.

According to The Telegraph, the former European commissioner cannot himself run for office because he is a senator for life, but he is in a position to be renamed prime minister if a party or coalition he supports wins the vote on February 24-25.

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The paper also reported that Monti is seen as a way to prevent scandal-tainted former premier Silvio Berlusconi from returning to power and undoing reforms. The "Monti Agenda" has proposed to cut public funds for political parties and parliamentary groups, and also includes measures to make more room for women and environmental issues.

A former economics professor and European Union Commissioner, Monti was chosen to impose financial rigor on the economy, according to BBC. The Vatican newspaper has backed his bid to return as prime minister.