News / Europe

Italy PM Says He 'Can't Wait' to Leave Office

Italy's outgoing prime minister and leader of a coalition of center parties Mario Monti speaks during a news conference in Rome, March 6, 2013.
Italy's outgoing prime minister and leader of a coalition of center parties Mario Monti speaks during a news conference in Rome, March 6, 2013.
Reuters
Caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti, looking tired and distraught, said on Wednesday he was ready to leave office a day after a prominent member of his government resigned over the handling of a dispute with India.

Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi - without informing Monti of his intentions - announced his resignation on Tuesday, saying he disagreed with the government's decision to send two marines, accused of murder, to India to stand trial.

The government's confused handling of the dispute surrounding the marines, who are accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen during anti-piracy duty, has been a black mark on Monti's brief, 17-month government, and has led to accusations that it has cost Italy diplomatic prestige.

"This government can't wait to be relieved of its duty," Monti said during testimony about the Indian affair to the lower house of parliament. Monti was interrupted repeatedly by heckles from right-wing lawmakers.

Only a year ago, Monti was hailed as the savior of Italy for pulling the eurozone's third-biggest economy back from the brink of a Greek-style debt default.

But his decision to enter politics by competing in last month's elections has turned him into a scapegoat for Italy's multiple economic problems, including rising unemployment and the longest recession in two decades.

Monti's centrist alliance gathered just over 10 percent of last month's national vote, coming in fourth place in a contest in which no single force won a workable majority in parliament.

As foreseen by law, Monti has remained in power to take care of routine business and will stay until a new government is formed. When that will be is hard to say and Italy is still in a political limbo.

With at most months or more likely weeks left in office, Terzi's decision to resign suggested the administration of technocrats was beginning to fall apart, something which Monti himself hinted at.

Behind Terzi's resignation are "other goals that could become more clear in coming months," Monti said, echoing speculation in several Italian newspapers that Terzi's resignation was linked to his political ambitions.

'Politically dead'

Nichi Vendola, leader of the Left Ecology Freedom party said Terzi's resignation was "the definitive collapse" for Monti, whom the widely followed political gossip blog Dagospia described as "politically dead."

During the election campaign, Monti was widely criticized for having introduced tough austerity measures that worsened an already deep recession but failed to trim debt.

Though his goal when he took office was to balance the budget by this year, last week his government announced it would raise its 2013 deficit target by half of a percentage point to 2.9 percent of gross domestic product.

When he took office in 2011, he had an approval rating of more than 70 percent. A poll taken after the elections showed that only eight percent of Italians saw Monti as a leader capable of breaking the political gridlock, less than any of his rivals, including four-times Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Before entering politics, Monti was considered the top candidate to become the next head of state, a seven-year job that must be filled by mid-May.

After the vote he emerged as a possible candidate to become speaker of the Senate, a position that, in the end, he was not offered, and he has little chance of becoming president without broad support in parliament, which he no longer enjoys.

The front-page headline of Wednesday's Libero, a newspaper close to Berlusconi's center-right, had this to say of Monti's administration: "The worst government in history."

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs