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Monti confirms sounded out by president in summer 2011

Suspicions Napolitano wanted to topple Berlusconi 'absurd'

10 February, 14:15
Monti confirms sounded out by president in summer 2011 (ANSA) - Rome, February 10 - Ex-premier Mario Monti on Monday confirmed media reports he was sounded out by President Giorgio Napolitano in the summer of 2011 about the possibility of taking the helm of an emergency government. The reports have been taken as evidence Napolitano wanted to see the end of Silvio Berlusconi's third government, which fell in November 2011 when Italy looked in danger of facing a Greek-style financial meltdown. "In the summer of 2011 I had signals from the president," former European commissioner and Life Senator Monti told State broadcaster Rai.

"He made me understand that I had to be available, if needed," added Monti, whose technocrat administration was in power until April 2013.

"It's absurd to consider it anomalous for the president to make sure there is an alternative, if a problem arises".

Monti said he had also been contacted several years before by Napolitano's predecessor as president, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, about whether he would be willing to step in to head a government if necessary. Berlusconi has said the end of his third government and his ejection from parliament last year after a definitive tax-fraud conviction are just two of a series of "coups" in Italy in recent years.

Napolitano berated the 77-year-old billionaire for those comments. Some members of Berlusconi's Forza Italia party have called for the head of State to be impeached, something that the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) have also requested, having recently presented a petition in parliament.