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Monti May Still Enter Election Race, Mizuho’s Barbieri Says

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti may reverse a pledge not to run for a second term and become a candidate in elections that may be held as soon as February, said Riccardo Barbieri, chief European economist at Mizuho International Plc in London.

Monti, who leads an unelected government of non-politicians, said yesterday that he was still too busy trying to complete the work of his administration to consider running.

“Mr. Monti must not take sides as long as he is the leader of a technocratic government supported by a broad coalition,” Barbieri said in a note to investors today. “One should not read too much in his statements at this stage.”

Monti, who was appointed 13 months ago when Silvio Berlusconi resigned, announced on Dec. 8 that he would step down as soon as the 2013 budget plan was passed after former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi withdrew his parliamentary backing for the government.

Monti “cannot declare his intentions at this stage, as that may endanger the final ratification of Italy’s Stability Law --- the 2013 budget -- and of other urgent legislation before parliament is dissolved,” Barbieri said.

Monti is being lobbied to engage in the campaign by a coalition of centrist parties that support his overhaul of the Italian economy. Ferrari SpA Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo has formed a political party to run on a pro-Monti platform and has been in talks with the Union of Centrist and Freedom of Liberty for Italy to form a coalition.

‘Centrist Alliance’

“If a credible centrist alliance is formed over the next two weeks or so, and assuming that other European capitals keep urging him to stay on as prime minister, Mr. Monti may be persuaded to accept the nomination to prime ministerial candidate of the centrist parties,” Barbieri wrote.

Another possibility for Monti to maintain influence after the election would be to accept an appointment as president after Giorgio Napolitano’s term ends in May, Barbieri said.

“We hold on to our view that Mr. Monti’s instinct is to stay out of the election race, and Italy’s presidency may be offered to him as an alternative to direct involvement in party politics,” he wrote.

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