Monti aims for Italy vote majority, pro-Europe alliance

Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:30pm EST
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By Catherine Hornby

ROME (Reuters) - Outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said on Monday he was aiming to win a majority in a parliamentary election in February and would seek alliances with parties agreeing with his pro-Europe agenda.

While not explicitly saying so, Monti appeared to indicate he was open to an alliance with the centre left - led by Pier Luigi Bersani, who polls say is on track to win the election - although not until after the vote.

The statement came a day after Bersani pressured Monti to choose sides. Silvio Berlusconi, the conservative businessman who is seeking his fifth term as premier, has accused Monti of striking a hidden deal to favor the left.

Due to the complexities of the electoral law, Bersani's two-party coalition could win a comfortable majority in the lower house without taking a secure command of the Senate, possibly making an alliance with Monti's bloc crucial to creating a stable parliamentary majority.

"The new movement is born with the aim of gathering the consensus of the majority of Italians," Monti said on his website.

"Whether this objective is fully achieved, or whether that is not the case, we will seek convergence with political forces that adopt a line of action that is compatible with our European strategy."

A former European Commissioner, Monti was appointed a year ago to lead an unelected government of experts to save Italy from financial crisis after Berlusconi stepped down. He announced his bid for a second term last week.

Monti said Italy must remain a central player in European politics and integration and that his goal was to stem the rise of populist and anti-European parties, which he felt were growing at an alarming rate in Italy.   Continued...

Italy's outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti gestures during a news conference in Rome December 28, 2012. REUTERS/Tony Gentile