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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.

INTERVIEW-Italy's centre-left moves to reassure doubters

* Centre-left says Monti must stay in frontline * Promises rapid reforms * Says coalition with Monti could work and be stable By Barry Moody and Giselda Vagnoni ROME, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Italy's centre-left moved on Tuesday to quash fears that it will form a weak government after next weekend's election, saying it was committed to rapid economic reform and that outgoing premier Mario Monti must have a frontline political role.

FACTBOX-Italy coalitions' economy platforms ahead of vote

By Gavin Jones ROME, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Italians go to the polls on Sunday and Monday to elect a successor to Mario Monti's technocrat government, with the main parties seeking new ways to win over almost a third of voters who are still undecided. Final polls published on Feb. 8 before a two week black-out gave Pier Luigi Bersani's centre left a lead of 5.7 points over Silvio Berlusconi's centre right, which had been steadily closing the gap for several weeks.

Italy's vulnerable economy key player in election vote

Italy may have escaped the ferocious grip of the eurozone debt crisis under Mario Monti's rule, but the country heading for the polls is still bogged down in recession and vulnerable to political turmoil. The buzzword on every candidate's lips is "spread" -- the differential between Italian and benchmark German bonds -- a term unknown to many here two years ago, but now used to stir up public sentiment over the state of the economy.

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.

Sober man Monti promises hard truths for Italy

Cerebral economics professor Mario Monti may not get pulses racing but supporters at a rally on Friday said his blend of bitter economic medicine and European credentials are just what Italy needs. The outgoing prime minister told the crowd that the time for old-style politics was over and that he was the best man to lead Italy at a time of daunting economic challenges, as a general election looms next week.

EU 'fears' Berlusconi's return to power: Monti

Italy's outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti said on Sunday the European Union fears Silvio Berlusconi's return to power and his potential negative effect on the euro should his party win this month's election. "Berlusconi has disappointed me, he's missed all his important meetings and has betrayed the liberal revolution," said Monti, who succeeded the billionaire tycoon as prime minister in November 2011.

Italy's centre-left likely to need Monti to govern-final polls

ROME, Feb 8 (Reuters) - The centre-left is on course to win Italy's election but it may have to form a coalition with outgoing premier Mario Monti, final polls before the Feb 24-25 vote showed on Friday. Polls published before a pre-vote blackout mostly showed Pierluigi Bersani's Democratic Party still five or more points ahead, despite a scandal over a bank it is linked to and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's continuing resurgence.

Monti promotes women's rights on Berlusconi sex trial day

* Monti highlights need to fight abuse of women * Judges agree to postpone Berlusconi underage sex trial By Catherine Hornby ROME, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti spoke of the importance of women's rights on Monday, while his election rival Silvio Berlusconi sought to have his latest hearing in a trial for underage prostitution postponed.

Italy's Monti defends his reform achievements in Davos

* Monti defends record in front of friendly business audience * Blames past governments for dragging Italy down * Says reforms must continue after Feburary election DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti defended his reform efforts in front of an audience of the world's financial elite on Wednesday and accused past governments of plunging Italy into a spiral of unemployment and stagnation.
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