Monti Runs Hunted Professor, Ex-Berlusconi Allies in Lombardy

Italian caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti, preparing for elections next month, selected a professor living under armed guard and two ex-allies of Silvio Berlusconi to run for him in the battleground region of Lombardy.

Labor market professor Pietro Ichino, ex-Milan Mayor Gabriele Albertini and Mario Mauro, formerly Berlusconi’s top representative at the European Parliament, were presented by Monti today at a press conference. Speaking to reporters in Milan, the capital of Lombardy, Monti said his objective is to gradually open Italian politics to more people and ideas.

Monti is assembling a political team after 14 months in power at the helm of a technocratic government of professors and bureaucrats. With the selections, Monti is challenging established rivals in Berlusconi’s People of Liberty party and the Democratic Party of Pier Luigi Bersani.

Monti, who’s seeking to bring more non-politicians to parliament, explained his reason for selecting people who have previously held office. To exclude certain politicians would be “elitist, improper and typical of one of the defects of Italy’s civil society,” he said.

Ichino, a senator with Bersani’s Democratic Party, has been protected for a decade by an armed escort provided by the government, which believes that people want to murder him for his views on labor-market reform. Albertini served in Berlusconi’s party when he was mayor.

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