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Monti quits as Italian PM, clearing way for election

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Prime Minister , ending a 13-month tenure and clearing the way for elections that will focus on his .

The appointed premier submitted his resignation yesterday to President , according to a statement from the president’s office. Napolitano asked Monti’s Cabinet to remain in power to handle routine government administration. Monti stepped down after lawmakers passed a 2013 budget law. The president has suggested February 24 as the date for elections.

Monti took over last year just as Italy risked becoming the next victim of Europe’s debt turmoil under former Premier Silvio Berlusconi. While he’s overseen a recovery in Italy’s bonds and repaired its tattered standing abroad, his agenda left Italians with higher taxes, rising unemployment and a shrinking economy.

Monti may use a press conference tomorrow to announce whether he’ll sit out the election, or heed the call of a group of centrist political parties who want him to run on a platform of continued reforms for the Euro zone’s third-largest economy.

The , which surged to 7.26 per cent on November 25 last year, past the level that had prompted Ireland, Greece and Portugal to seek bailouts, was 4.47 per cent yesterday.

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