ROME — Caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti said Sunday he won’t run in February elections, but if political parties that back his anti-crisis agenda ask him to head the next government, he would consider the offer.
Mr. Monti ruled out heading any ticket himself, saying, “I have no sympathy for ‘personal’ parties.”
At a news conference, Mr. Monti made clear he was spurning an offer from predecessor Silvio Berlusconi to run on a center-right election ticket backed by the media mogul, citing Berlusconi’s heavy criticism of his economic policies.
The premier, an economist who has spent 13 months tasked with trying to right Italy’s troubled economy, said Berlusconi’s flipping between condemning the government’s economic policies and then praising the premier convinced him that “I couldn’t accept his offer.”
He stepped down Friday after Berlusconi’s party withdrew its support from his technical government, but has been asked stay on in a caretaker capacity in the run-up to Feb. 24-25 elections.
Other centrist parties in Parliament have been urging him to run for another stint as premier. Mr. Monti said “I won’t line up with anyone,” but made clear he would be available to head the next government.
Following Mr. Putin’s talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other Indian officials Monday, Moscow and New Delhi will sign agreements on trade, science, education and law enforcement.
While the volume of Russian-Indian trade has risen sixfold since 2000 and is expected to reach $10 billion this year, the growth has slowed in recent years.