Monti says next Italy govt must avoid backtracking on reforms

ROME Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:22am EST

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ROME Dec 23 (Reuters) - Italian caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti said on Sunday that the country's next government must not make easy election promises or backtrack on the reform path his technocrat administration has begun.

"We have to avoid illusory and extremely dangerous steps backwards," Monti said at the traditional end-year news conference.

Monti, who resigned on Friday, set out a list of reforms that the winner of a Feb. 24-25 election should tackle, including a further simplification of labour market rules following his own reform effort, and reform of the legal system.

He defended his government's record and said he had not felt able to accept the offer of his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi to lead the centre-right at the election.

He said he was "unable to understand" Berlusconi's frequent changes of position between praising and fiercely criticising his government.

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