Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said he remains available to serve another term after elections due in April should there “be a need for my service.”
Monti, who has headed an unelected government since November, said he won’t run as a candidate as he is already a lifetime member of the Senate.
“All I am saying is I will be a senator -- should there be any special circumstance where the political forces would believe that there might be a need for my service, I would consider it,” Monti said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Erik Schatzker. Monti said he didn’t have any specific political plans.
“I want the international community and the markets to know that I would still be there should there be a need,” he said.
Monti’s availability to extend his leadership marks a departure from previous statements in which he downplayed the possibility of a second term. The experience of a caretaker government, he said on Sept. 10, “is definitely episodic, transitory and limited in time.” Italian bond yields fell after Monti’s comments today.
“Monti wants to buy some insurance against the possibility market tensions intensify very significantly again,” said Silvio Peruzzo, European economist at Nomura International Plc. “He won’t likely run for prime minister but he would stand ready to get appointed by political parties should that be required by market conditions and political stalemate.”
Monti said that he was “confident the election would bring about a political majority large enough with a political leader that can govern the country.”
Opinion polls indicate that may not be the case, with recent surveys signaling no party would win a working majority. Monti remains the country’s most popular political leader.
“We would need to see a hung parliament and, or, Italy under serious market pressure” for Monti to be offered a second term, said Mujtaba Rahman, an analyst at Eurasia Group in New York. “Otherwise, a second Monti term remains unlikely.”
Italian 10-year bond yields declined 9 basis points to 5.12 percent today, narrowing the difference with similar maturity German debt to 366 basis points. When Monti took over after the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi in November, that yield topped 7 percent.
Monti’s approval rating rose 1 percentage point to 52 percent of voters this month, according to a Sept. 17 poll by IPR Marketing. That compares with a low of 46 percent in June and a high of 59 percent in February. An eventual second Monti term was backed by 81 percent of investors and business leaders, including at least 40 chief executive officers, who took part in a Sole 24 Ore Radiocor survey this month.
Italy’s two biggest political parties, which agreed in November to support Monti’s administration, are resuming their rivalry as the country prepares for elections. The Democratic Party, led by Pier Luigi Bersani, and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Liberty party are vying to win enough votes to form a government.
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