(Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti met the leaders of the parties backing him in parliament on Tuesday and called on them to give their unified support to help Italy through current market turmoil.
Monti said in a statement he was “worried by the situation of emergency” on financial markets, and had told the party chiefs that “cohesion” was needed “to overcome the critical situation and give an image of unity abroad”.
Italian borrowing costs have risen sharply since the weekend agreement by euro zone finance ministers to lend up to 100 billion euros to recapitalize Spain’s banks, with speculation rife that Italy may be the next large country to seek a bailout.
Monti told German radio station ARD that Italy would not need to ask for any financial assistance.
Yields on Italian 10-year benchmark bonds touched 6.3 percent on Tuesday, the highest level since January.
Monti’s approval ratings have fallen sharply in recent months, he is increasingly criticized by the parties in the right-left coalition that makes up his ruling majority, and many economists say that his reform efforts have lost momentum.
Prominent members of the both the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the centre-right People of Freedom (PDL) have called recently for early elections this year, though the party leaders have reiterated that Monti should serve out his full mandate, due to end next spring.
Monti said that at Tuesday’s meeting PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani, PDL Chief Angelino Alfano and Pier Ferdinando Casini, the head of the small, centrist UDC, had all pledged their “full support” for government measures currently before parliament.
On Wednesday the government faces three confidence votes on legislation to counter corruption, which has been strongly contested by parts of the PDL.
Reporting by Gavin Jones; Editing by Jon Hemming