30 Dec 2012

Monti to lead coalition into elections

8:40 am on 30 December 2012

Departing Italian prime minister Mario Monti, appointed last year to prevent Italy succumbing to the eurozone debt crisis, will head an alliance of centrist parties in February's elections.

At a news conference following talks with centrist politicians, Mr Monti said he was prepared to lead a coalition supporting his reform agenda.

A former European Commissioner, he was brought in to form a technocratic government in 2011 after the government of Silvio Berlusconi collapsed under pressure from the financial markets.

Mr Monti resigned after 13 months as prime minister when Mr Berlusconi withdrew his support, the BBC reports.

There has been intense speculation about what role he would play in the elections.

Mr Berlusconi and the head of the centre-left Democratic Party, Pier Luigi Bersani, are also standing.