Monti: would consider govt role after elections

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By COLLEEN BARRY, Associated Press

MILAN (AP) — Italian Premier Mario Monti said Thursday he would consider a role in government after the next elections — but only under the right circumstances.

Monti repeated, as he has in the past, that he will not run for Parliament when his mandate as head of a technical government runs out next year. But his willingness to stay on in an unspecified role went further than previous statements.

"Should there be circumstances in which they were to believe that I could serve helpfully after that period of the elections, I will be there. I will consider. I cannot preclude anything," Monti said during a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, according to a transcript.

"My spirit for service was there when I was asked by the president. I do not foresee that a second occasion would be needed. I will be there."

He expressed hope that "there will be a clear result with a clear possibility" for a majority to form a government led by a political leader.

Monti was tapped by Italy's president to form a technical government last November with the mandate of steering the country from financial disaster after the sitting government was unable to come up with convincing reforms.

In Italy, the premier is chosen by the president after consulting political parties, normally from the party that controls parliament.

At the time Monti was tapped, Italian borrowing costs were edging to dangerous levels. They have since eased significantly.

On Thursday, Italy saw borrowing rates drop in a sale of 5-year and 10-year bonds despite the intense financial crisis bearing down on Spain.

Yields on 5-year bonds were 4.09 percent, down from 4.73 percent last month, while yields on 10-year bonds dropped to 5.24 percent from 5.82 percent. But demand was slightly weaker than last month, and the Treasury sold just €6.65 billion rather than the full €7 billion sought.

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