Former European Commissioner Mario Monti pulled out of a weekend conference after Italy's president asked him to stay in Rome due to the country's political crisis, the conference organiser said on Thursday.

Monti, who has emerged as a favourite to head an emergency national unity government, had been due to chair a conference of the European section of the Trilateral Commission, a network of senior establishment figures from Europe, North America and Japan, in The Hague.

Mario Monti just called in and at the request of the president has to stay in Rome, Paul Revay, European director of the Trilateral Commission, told Reuters.

(Writing by Paul Taylor)