During the traditional Christmas press conference, Mr. Mario Monti addressed the journalists with his characteristically hieratic and obscure language. However, at the end of the day it was clear that he is ready to run: not personally, since he is a senator for life, but by endorsing some party.
Which party ? Not Mr. Berlusconi’s one. Mr. Monti was caustic with the Italian right, accusing it of erratic political behavior and of impossible-to-deliver electoral promises .
Could it be Mr. Bersani’s Democratic Party ? Mr. Monti was more benevolent with it. Yet, an alliance between Mr. Monti and Mr. Bersani looks unlikely. According to the polls, Mr. Bersani is set to be the next Italian prime minister, so he has no reason to accept a cumbersome ally like Mr. Monti. Moreover, the Democratic Party has a leftist wing which is wary of Mr. Monti’s policies.
Only the centrist Catholic party (it still hasn’t an official name) will rush to accept Mr. Monti’s offer. It is not by chance that the President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, was quick to praise Mr. Monti’s speech.
The Italian Catholic party is currently quite weak, but an endorsement by Mr. Monti could strengthen it. In electoral terms, this could prevent both Mr. Berlusconi and Mr. Bersani from getting a majority in Parliament.
In Italy this would sound like a déjà vu of the times when the Christian Democratic party, while not having an absolute majority, was fundamental to form a right-wing or left-wing Government. Certainly the Vatican is eagerly missing those times. But they were not good for Italy.