Italy votes in center-left primary amid recession

Associated Press Modified: November 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm •  Published: November 25, 2012
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Monti's government has imposed a painful austerity program and pushed through structural reforms that together have succeeded in bringing down Italy's borrowing costs. While ordinary Italians have chafed at the reforms, the positive market reaction to Monti's stewardship has fueled support for a second term, particularly among centrist politicians and some of Italy's business elite.

Monti has ruled out running for premier but has left the door open for a second term if no party wins a clear majority and he is tapped to head another government.

"I will reflect on all the possibilities — none excluded — in which I could possibly be able to contribute to the best interests of Italy and Europe," Monti said on a primetime talk show on RAI state television Sunday.

President Giorgio Napolitano made clear last week that Monti couldn't run for office heading a party ticket, since he's currently a senator-for-life. Newspaper analysts suggested Napolitano's aim in keeping Monti out of the campaign, on a potentially unelectable centrist ticket, was to ensure he remained a viable alternative for premier if neither of Italy's main parties wins a clear majority — or to be named his successor as president.

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Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/nwinfield



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