MILAN Italy's Mario Monti said on Monday he would prefer not to stay on as prime minister after elections in April, despite widespread calls for him to do so.
Monti was named as leader of a technocrat government last November when the financial crisis forced Italian government debt to levels that had triggered bailout requests from other euro zone countries. His government's term ends in March.
Asked at an event organized by the Financial Times in Milan whether he would like to stay in the job, he said: "No."
In September, Monti said he would, out of a sense of responsibility to the country, carry on leading the government if the election did not produce a leader with a clear majority.
"I am seeing that many people do imagine such a scenario," he said, answering a question about whether he would run a new government. "Some like it and some dislike it. I do not have a view on this."
Recent opinion polls show that no party or alliance of parties would win more than 32 percent of votes if the election were held now.
Italy's business community and many politicians support a second term for Monti to lock in structural reforms he has launched and to maintain financial markets' confidence in the economy.
When asked about financial markets, Monti said Italian government bond spreads had reduced dramatically during the last year and could fall further.
"I do not see in Italian fundamentals any reason why the spread should be higher than 150 basis points," he said.
On Monday, 10-year Italian bonds were trading about 365 basis points over 10-year German Bunds, having reached a euro zone record of about 570 basis points last December.
(Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Louise Ireland)