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Italy PM Monti says he "can't wait" to leave office

By Steve Scherer ROME (Reuters) - Caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti, looking tired and distraught, said on Wednesday he was ready to leave office a day after a prominent member of his government resigned over the handling of a dispute with India. Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi - without informing Monti of his intentions - announced his resignation on Tuesday, saying he disagreed with the government's decision to send two marines accused of murder to India to stand trial.

Monti urges end to EU rigidity, warns of voter backlash

Outgoing Italian premier Mario Monti urged EU partners on Thursday to grant Italy and other countries facing pressures on public finances leeway to spend for jobs -- or face a voter backlash as he did last month. In a written plea to be freed from European Union reforms and fiscal discipline dictated by markets -- a message that diplomatic sources said came "too late" -- Monti warned that Brussels was in danger of losing popular trust.

Mario Monti: from crisis hero to election's big loser

Once heralded as the man who saved Italy from bankruptcy, former premier Mario Monti was the clear loser Tuesday of a bitter election which left the staid technocrat out in the cold. Monti's centrist coalition captured just 10.6 percent in the lower house, bringing up the rear far behind the left, right and the wild-card populist Five Star Movement (M5S), and leaving party members wondering what had hit them.

NEWSMAKER-Battered Monti may still be key player in Italy vote

* Monti helped save Italy from debt crisis * But as election campaigner, he has been ineffective * Seen coming fourth in election but could play key role * Still finds support among business elite By Gavin Jones ROME, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Mario Monti has put his image as an independent technocrat at risk by joining the hurly-burly of Italy's election campaign but investors hope he will retain a key role in government after the vote, whatever the outcome.

Monti: sober academic who saved Italy from default

Outgoing Premier Mario Monti, who is leading a centrist coalition in Italy's election race, is a former European commissioner who saved the country from financial crisis but at a steep social cost. Monti was installed by parliament at the head of an unelected, technocratic government in 2011 when his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi was forced to step down in a storm of sex scandals, market panic and party infighting.

CORRECTED-PREVIEW-Italy vote may bring opposite of what country needs

(Corrects date of election in 5th paragraph to Feb. 24-25) * Deep voter anger boosts Grillo * Berlusconi stormed back, helped by centre-left complacency * Most likely result is Bersani-Monti coalition By Barry Moody ROME, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Silvio Berlusconi's resurgence and the rise of a foul-mouthed populist comedian have thrown Italy's weekend election wide open, with deep uncertainty over whether the poll can produce the strong government the country needs.

Italy centre-left ally says EU must loosen budget rules

* Europe needs expansive economic policies - Vendola * Monti and Vendola may end up in same government * Vendola says he has "nothing personal" against Monti By Steve Scherer and Giselda Vagnoni ROME, Feb 21 (Reuters) - A leading member of Italy's centre-left coalition, frontrunner in polls for this weekend's election, said on Thursday the country should seek revisions of European Union budget rules.

NEWSMAKER-Battered Monti may still be key player in Italy vote

* Monti helped save Italy from debt crisis * But as election campaigner, he has been ineffective * Seen coming fourth in election but could play key role * Still finds support among business elite By Gavin Jones ROME, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Mario Monti has put his image as an independent technocrat at risk by joining the hurly-burly of Italy's election campaign but investors hope he will retain a key role in government after the vote, whatever the outcome.

UPDATE 1-Monti says Merkel doesn't want left to win Italy election

* Remarks could be embarrassment for Merkel * Merkel has kept lips sealed before Italian vote ROME, Feb 20 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel does not want the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) to win Italy's national election, outgoing Italian Prime Minister and centrist leader Mario Monti said on Wednesday.
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