Monti backed for second term
Two political leaders have joined calls for Italy's unelected technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti to stay on in some form after next spring's general election to prevent speculators dragging the Italian economy -- and the euro -- back to the edge of the abyss.
The realisation that Mr Monti's stabilising stop-gap government has just six months left has been causing alarm bordering on panic among business leaders and even politicians. His unelected regime was rushed into place in November 2011 with Italy's finances on the precipice -- a crisis that forced the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister.
Since then Italy's economic outlook has improved. But a series of remarks from Mr Berlusconi questioning the desirability of euro-membership have also reminded Italy what might lie in wait if or when Mr Monti departs. It is widely believed Mr Berlusconi still harbours political ambitions.
In the past few days captains of industry have reacted with undisguised delight to comments from Mr Monti that he would be willing to stay on.
Not everyone, however, welcomed the prospect of Mr Monti extending his time. Susanna Camusso, leader of the big left-wing CGIL union that has clashed with the Monti government over labour reform, said a second Monti term "would be a message of resignation, not a prospect for change". (© Independent News Services)