ROME Dec 17 Most Italians are against
technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti running for a second term
in parliamentary elections expected in February, a poll showed
Approval ratings for the premier hit almost their lowest
level since Monti was appointed 13 months ago to lead a
government charged with pulling Italy from the brink of a
Monti is under international pressure to stand so he can
continue a programme of reforms and austerity meant to defuse a
debt crisis dangerous to the euro zone.
But the tax hikes and cuts to spending imposed by the
government have provoked widespread protests in Italy.
Just 24 percent of respondents said Monti should put himself
forward as a candidate while 61 percent were against the idea,
the survey by the SWG polling institute showed.
The result shows an apparent disconnect between voters and
leaders as centre-right politicians stepped up calls over the
weekend for Monti to run for a second term at the head of a
Centre-right voters were the most strongly opposed to a
Monti run with 82 percent against the idea, compared with 58
percent of centre-left voters and 34 percent of centrists.
In December, 35 percent of respondents to the SWG poll said
they had either "a lot of" or "enough" faith in Monti, down from
a high of 71 percent when the economics professor was appointed.
Currently the centre-left Democratic Party has the biggest
portion of electoral support with 31 percent of voters, the poll
showed, followed by the populist 5-Star Movement at 19 percent
and Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom party at
The Democratic Party has consistently opposed a Monti run.
(Reporting by Naomi O'Leary; Editing by Andrew Heavens)