Italy's Monti turns down Berlusconi offer to run

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano dissolved parliament following Premier Mario Monti's resignation.

ROME — Italian Premier Mario Monti is spurning Silvio Berlusconi's offer to run on a center-right ticket backed by the media mogul in February elections.

Monti told a news conference Sunday in Rome that his predecessor's flipping back and forth between condemning the government's economic policies and then praising the premier convinced him that "I couldn't accept his offer."

Monti didn't immediately say if he might run on his own ticket 13 months after his non-elected government was appointed to save Italy from the eurozone debt crisis.

Italy's president dissolved parliament following Monti's resignation, formally setting the stage for general elections.

President Giorgio Napolitano signed the decree Saturday after consulting with political leaders.

Monti, appointed 13 months ago to steer Italy from a Greek-style debt crisis, stepped down Friday after ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi's party withdrew its support for his technical government.

Small centrist parties have been courting Monti. Polls indicate the center-left Democratic Party will win the vote. A Monti-led ticket could deprive the Democrats of votes, but wouldn't be expected to garner anything near a majority.

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