Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018
ROME

Berlusconi says won't stand if Monti does

English
© ANSA

Rome, December 12 - Silvio Berlusconi on Wedensday
said that he would not run for a fourth term as Italian premier
if outgoing Premier Mario Monti agreed to head a new
conservative coalition at February elections, but added he did
not think Monti would do so.
Such a "coalition of moderates," said Berlusconi, would
include the regionalist Northern League party, which has
denounced Monti since replacing Berlusconi last year amid a peak
in the euro crisis.
In the meantime, Berlusconi said that "I am a premier
candidate", speaking at a presentation of a book by journalist
and TV presenter Bruno Vespa in Rome.
In his speech, the media mogul repeated that Italy's bond
spread was a "con" and suggested it did not matter.
On Tuesday he said the same thing, sparking rebuttals from
financial experts and Premier Mario Monti.
Berlusconi's remarks were the latest to grab the attention
of political pundits since the former premier said he was
throwing his hat into the political race last week.
Leading newspapers in Europe and the US came out squarely
against him, warning his return to politics could be
"disastrous".
In editorials published Wednesday, both the Wall Street
Journal and the New York Times were scathing in their analysis
of the damage Berlusconi created in his years in government, and
the threat he holds for the future.
"The re-election of Silvio Berlusconi could be disastrous,
given the precarious Italian economy and the lack of trust he
inspires abroad," said the Journal.
But, it added, Italians who are tired of the austerity
measures imposed by the present technocratic government of
Premier Mario Monti might "bet on Berlusconi" once again, just
to get a break from hard times.
That would be a mistake, warned the New York Times in an
editorial titled "The Shameless Return of Mr Berlusconi".
"Although it may seem like a bad joke, given his failures
on the reform front and the economy and his sex scandals, the
return of Berlusconi could do serious harm," said the Times.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also slammed
Berlusconi, saying "everyone knows...the Monti government has
done a better job than the last one".
Premier Mario Monti was less direct in his criticism
Wednesday, saying that the administration of his predecessor
Berlusconi had passed some economic reforms "but left very much
to do".
Monti, who took office last year when Italy's financial
crisis forced Berlusconi to resign as premier, added that the
winner of upcoming national elections would have to try to
follow up on the reforms passed by his emergency technocrat
government.
Berlusconi has been highly critical of the record of
Monti's government since his People of Freedom party withdrew
its support from it last week.
Monti has passed painful austerity measures and structural
economic reforms, including controversial changes to
labour-market regulations, that reassured investors Italy was
putting its financial house in order.
But these measures also deepened the recession the country
slipped into last year.

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