Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti announced his resignation Friday, following an unpopular 13-month term highlighted by repeated tax hikes and an inability to revive the country’s stagnant economy.
The former European Commissioner was invited by President Giorgio Napolitano to form a new technocratic government, following the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi.
It was hoped Monti’s knowledge of European finance would help Italy out of its sovereign debt crisis; after imposing austerity measures and market reforms that weakened the position of labor, 61-percent said he should not run for re-election, reports Reuters.
Monti’s term was to end a few months from now, but was cut short after former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right People of Freedom (PDL) dropped out of a parliamentary coalition earlier this month.
Berlusconi, who has been battling separate tax and sex scandals for some time, initially backed Monti on the condition he remain center-right. The former prime minister has lately been attacking Monti’s ”Germano-centric” economic policies, and pledged to cut taxes and scrap a hated housing tax which Monti imposed.
European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have called for Monti’s economic reforms to continue.
President Napolitano will likely dissolve parliament and call for special elections on February 24. Until then, Monti will continue running the country in a caretaker capacity.
UPDATE (12.23): Monti announced in a press conference on Sunday that he would not run for prime minister in elections next year.