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Monti says risk of populism, but Italians are no fools

Berlusconi set to stand after pulling support for government

10 December, 18:01
Monti says risk of populism, but Italians are no fools (ANSA) - Rome, December 10 - Premier Mario Monti said Monday that there was a risk of populism taking grip in Italy's upcoming national election campaign, while stressing that he did not think voters would be enticed by it because "they aren't fools".

Monti announced Saturday he would resign from office once the 2013 budget law is approved after ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party withdrew its support from the former European commissioner emergency technocrat government.

"There is a risk of populist trends against EU economic policies in every country," Monti said.

"This should be kept in mind in order to avoid it as much as possible in the imminent election campaign in Italy," he said, adding that "Italian people are mature, they aren't fools". Berlusconi, who has frequently been accused of adopting populist stances in the past, confirmed at the weekend that he was dropping plans to retire from front-line politics and would stand for a fourth term as Italian premier in the elections.