As change in leadership approaches, could Italy suffer more economic challenges?

News reports from the Italian media have stated in recent days that, despite his official resignation, so-called technocrat Mario Monti, who has served as prime minister since Silvio Berlusconi stepped down, has expressed a willingness to continue serving.

Monti, who has faced public backlash due to his comprehensive austerity policies, including tax increases and government spending cuts, is rumored to be courted by several political movements in the country and could stand at the head of a center-right coalition of parties in this year's parliamentary elections. These polls are expected to occur in February following this weekend's collapse of Monti's government.

Monti, for his part, has remained cautiously optimistic about his future role in Italy.

"I would be ready to offer my encouragement, advice and if necessary leadership," he told reporters this weekend when asked about another term of office in the future. "If a credible political force asked me to run as prime minister for them I would consider it. If I accept, it's to try to change the moral culture of the country. It's obvious it's not for my personal convenience."

Regardless of his decision, Monti has been quoted by several sources as saying that he hopes his work, including a recent tax reform bill and successive rounds of austerity, will not be altered by future governments. Some commentators have suggested these statements are directed toward Berlusconi's center-right coalition of parties, which are lining up behind the former prime minister ahead of next year's elections.

The billionaire media mogul, who, according to BBC News is publicly seeking office once again, lost power nearly two years ago after failing to pass a budget reform bill in the Italian parliament. That loss sent government bond markets reeling, and soon after Berlusconi's government fell and Monti was appointed to right the country's economic ship.

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