Business elite want technocrat Monti to serve new term but public not so sure
Asked if Monti should continue after elections due by April 2013, he said: “Absolutely not. He is not a prime minister who can pursue the policies we need in Italy. He is a banker, not a politician. The next government must think about the common people and not this group of bankers as he is doing.”
Monti is actually a former academic economist and European commissioner.
A Corriere della Sera newspaper poll yesterday showed indeed that the opinion at Cernobbio was far more strongly in favour of a Monti-bis than the general population, among which the idea won only 37 per cent support.
However, the chaotic political landscape less than eight months before elections is encouraging speculation that a new government could be led, if not by Monti, then by one of his technocrat cabinet, most likely industry minister Corrado Passera.
Who will lead the two biggest parties into the election is uncertain as are the alliances that will campaign together.
Passera has recently signalled that he may have political ambitions. On Saturday he turned up at a meeting of the Catholic centrist UDC, led by Pierferdinando Casini, which some are already dubbing the Monti-bis party.
Former prime minister Romano Prodi said at Cernobbio there were circumstances in which Monti might return after the election, including the possibility that a winning party or coalition could call on him. “I am convinced if there is a deadlock, if he is asked again to give a service to the country, he will do it,” Prodi added.
“If there is a clear winner of the election, that person will be prime minister or will designate the prime minister.”
However, politicians here said Italy must return to normal democratic processes next year after the technocrat interlude.
In remarks which might worry investors, Renato Brunetta, an economics minister in Berlusconi’s last government, said at Cernobbio:
“This country is suffering a brutal recession, the poisoned fruit of policies imposed on the Monti government by Germany,” he told reporters.
“Enough of the technocrat government. The blackmail has finished. The economic policy of the Monti government must change immediately or the country will die.”
Despite such language, which is likely to become more inflammatory as the election approaches, many are sanguine about the possibility of Italy changing course. Monti’s government has tried during its short term to lock the country into reform policies aimed at cutting a huge debt and reversing a long economic stagnation.–(Reuters)