LONDON -- Prime Minister Mario Monti, who steered Italy through tough economic times over the last 13 months, said Sunday he would not run in upcoming elections but would consider any request to head a future government.
Monti, who resigned from his post late last week but will stay on as caretaker prime minister until the Feb. 24 election, fielded questions at a two-hour news conference over his unelected government of technocrats and his future plans.
Most of the questions for the economics professor and former European Union business commissioner focused on his future political plans.
Monti said he “will not join any party. But he added: "I would be ready to offer my encouragement, advice and, if necessary, leadership" to any proposal put to him that met the right conditions.
However, in a barbed summary of what he saw as a bewildering mix of recent criticisms and flattery from his predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi, he appeared to banish the idea of collaboration with the former prime minister's center-right Freedom Party.