Centrist group formed to retain Monti as PM


A new centrist movement launched at the weekend by industrialist Luca Cordero di Montezemolo is shaking up Italy’s already highly volatile political scene. It aims at building a platform for Mario Monti to remain as prime minister after elections expected early next year.

Close to 7,000 people packed into a film studio on the edge of Rome on Saturday for the movement’s first convention, built on a national network organised by the Italia Futura think tank set up by Mr Montezemolo three years agoand supported by ACLI, a broad-based Christian workers’ association.

In his pro-reform speech, the 65-year-old entrepreneur, who is chairman of Ferrari, denounced the “derision and humiliation” Italy had been subjected to over “20 lost years”.

He anointed Mr Monti as the best candidate to lead national reconstruction.

Tackling the question gripping Italy – whether Mr Monti will bow to mounting pressure and take the big step from being an appointed technocrat and run for elected office – Mr Montezemolo told the crowd of mostly professionals and entrepreneurs: “We’re not asking the prime minister to take the leadership of this movement today because it would prejudice his work.”

Mr Monti is in no position to take sides while his unelected government relies on the support of the main parties to complete urgent legislation, including next year’s contested budget, over coming weeks.

High hopes

However, with March 10th the likely election date, Mr Montezemolo’s movement has high hopes it will receive Mr Monti’s endorsement, possibly after Giorgio Napolitano, head of state, dissolves parliament in early January.

A possible alliance with other pro-Monti formations would boost its chances of winning the prime minister’s hand, and poll prospects.

Speaking at Milan’s Bocconi university on Saturday, Mr Monti was asked about his future. “No one is asking commitments of me, and today I am not giving any,” he said. However, he applauded the efforts of civil society groups to engage Italians, especially those adopting initiatives in line with his own.– (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012)