Will he or won't he? Italy awaits Monti's decision

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm •  Published: December 22, 2012
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The respected economist and former European Union commissioner won back a degree of international credibility for the country through a series of tax hikes and fiscal reforms that were deeply unpopular at home. Italy's borrowing rates have come down significantly, thanks also to the European Central Bank's bond-buying program.

Monti's resignation set in motion a series of procedures that culminated with President Giorgio Napolitano signing a decree Saturday to dissolve parliament.

Polls indicate the center-left Democratic Party will win the vote, with the upstart populist movement of comic Bepe Grillo coming in second and Berlusconi's People of Freedom party coming in third.

Berlusconi's party has been in disarray ever since he resigned, with defections of top party leaders and chaos over whether the billionaire media mogul will run himself. He has flip-flopped several times about his intentions, with his latest that he would run but would step aside if Monti runs.

Berlusconi's party has also been discredited by a series of party funding scandals that have seen dozens of local politicians placed under investigation for allegedly misusing public funds for personal use. He also was convicted of tax fraud in October and is on trial on charges he paid for sex with an underage woman. He has denied the charges and is appealing the conviction. He also recently announced he was dating a woman nearly 50 years his junior.

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