Bloomberg News

Monti Endorses Radical Policy Stance as Italy Prepares for Vote

October 24, 2012

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, who imposed austerity in his 11 months in power, is fending off calls to change a budget plan that in its current form would raise the value-added tax, cut income-tax deductions and reduce rates on the lowest earners. Photographer: Jock Fistick/Bloomberg

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, facing resistance from parliamentary backers over his 2013 budget proposal, said government policies need to be radical to step up the pace of change.

“There’s definitely not a need for moderate policies,” Monti said yesterday in a speech at a book presentation in Rome. “There’s need for radical political reform.”

Monti, who imposed austerity in his 11 months in power, is fending off calls to change a budget plan that in its current form would raise the value-added tax, cut income-tax deductions and reduce rates on the lowest earners. The premier is dealing with discord as his coalition partners prepare for elections next year in which he has said he won’t seek a second term.

“We need a transformation that is much more radical than what’s been done” by the current government, Monti said.

Monti’s supporters are seeking to assert themselves after giving ground in opinion polls to opposition voices like the euro-skeptic, comic-turned-politician Beppe Grillo. Monti met this week with partners including former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Pier Luigi Bersani, head of Italy’s Democratic Party. Bersani said yesterday after speaking with the premier that the budget required changes.

Budget ‘Modifications’

“Some modifications are needed,” Bersani told reporters outside of Monti’s offices in Rome. “We considered some possible corrections, but we have to talk to the other political forces.”

Bersani’s group and Berlusconi’s People of Liberty Party, traditional rivals prior to joining forces to support Monti, will run against each in next year’s vote. Monti has said that while he won’t run in the election, which must be held by April, he will be available to serve again if needed.

Grillo’s 5 Star Movement rose to more than 20 percent in an opinion poll for the first time, SWG Institute said last week. Grillo’s group is second to the Democratic Party, which took 25.9 percent, according to the Trieste, Italy-based pollster. People of Liberty fell to 14.3 percent from 15.1 percent, SWG said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in Rome at afrye@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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