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Napolitano calls Berlusconi plot speculation 'smoke'

Govt was 'clearly struggling' writes head of State

10 February, 19:20
Napolitano calls Berlusconi plot speculation 'smoke' (see related story) (ANSA) - Rome, February 10 - President Giorgio Napolitano on Monday described as "just smoke" speculation he plotted to bring down Silvio Berlusconi's third government after it emerged he contacted Mario Monti months before it actually collapsed in 2011. "The real facts, the only ones in the real history of the country in 2011, are well known and indisputable," Napolitano wrote in a letter to Corriere della Sera, which published the reports he sounded out Monti in the summer of 2011 before Monti replaced Berlusconi as premier in November that year.

"These are summed up by the fact that the governing majority that won the 2008 elections was clearly struggling more and more".

Napolitano recalled many of the problems Berlusconi's government faced at the peak of the eurozone crisis 2011, when borrowing costs rose sharply and Italy looked on the brink of a Greek-style financial meltdown.

These included defections within the government alliance of the time and various reprimands from the European Union over Italy's budget. Napolitano said that in 2011 he, and many others, came to see Monti as a "resource to keep in mind and, if necessary, to bring to the government of the country". But he also stressed that he only gave the former European commissioner the mandate to form an emergency government after Berlusconi resigned.