Two-thirds of Italians do not want second Prime Minister Mario Monti government

Nov 16 2012, 21:47 IST
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SummaryMonti's popularity halved since taking office last year.

Almost two-thirds of Italians say they do not want technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti to remain head of the government after next year's parliamentary vote, a poll published on Friday showed.

Monti took power a year ago, replacing the scandal-plagued Silvio Berlusconi, and pushed through spending cuts and tax increases to pull the country back from the brink of a Greek-style debt crisis.

Monti has said he will not stand in the election but that he is willing to step in again as a technocrat should there be no clear winner in a national election expected next April.

Italy's austerity measures have sparked a series of street protests and on Wednesday the CGIL labour union, Italy's biggest, held a national strike.

Sixty-two percent of Italians are against another Monti government, while 22 percent are for it, according to an SWG poll conducted for state-owned TV network RAI.

Monti's approval rating has halved to 36 percent, SWG said, compared with 71 percent when he took over 12 months ago.

Italian business leaders and European officials have said that another government with Monti at the helm would be the best thing for Italy.

Given the measures taken and the extreme difficulty of the situation, his approval rating is high, Roberto Weber, chairman of SWG, said in a statement.

The parties that have ruled in Italy for two decades are struggling to win back credibility after being hit by a number of corruption scandals and against a backdrop of prolonged recession. No clear leader has emerged from either.

The centre-left will pick its candidate in a primary vote at the end of November, and the centre-right candidate is still unknown.

The leadership vacuum has boosted anti-establishment, anti-euro 5-Star Movement led by comic Beppe Grillo, which has become the country's second most-popular party, polls show.

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