Dec. 23 - Italy's Monti says would consider standing at election. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti hints that he may be ready to run for a second term in next years election. At a news conference Sunday he said "If a credible political force asked me to be candidate as prime minister for them, I would consider it," Monti is widely respected for restoring Italy's reputation after the scandal-plagued era of Silvio Berlusconi. But after 13 months of repeated tax hikes and spending cuts an election bid could be a tough sell. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ROME RESIDENT ALBERTO MANZO SAYING: "Monti, in a few words has literally sold us off to Germany. I believe he is a very dangerous and negative character. As far as I am concerned, the best option is Berlusconi. Berlusconi for life." In a newspaper interview Monti expressed incredulity that Italians could elect Berlusconi for a fifth term after "seeing the damage he did to the Italian economy and the credibility of the country". Italy, the eurozone's third-largest economy, has been in recession since the middle of last year. Consumer spending is falling at its fastest rate since World War Two and unemployment has risen to a record high above 11 percent.