Stepping deep into the fray of guessing-game politics, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti told a New York conference Thursday morning he might consider staying on as his country's chief executive even after new elections take place in April.
“When I became prime minister, I said that I would not run for election," the unelected European technocrat, who was appointed Italy's top leader as a crisis move by a national grand coalition of parties in 2011, said in front of a conference sponsored by the private Council on Foreign Relations.
However, Monti clarified, that did not mean he'd be going away after the elections.
"I will be a senator. I will be there," Monti said, noting his accession to power had come after his appointment as "senator for life" by the Italian president.
"Should there be circumstances in which they were to believe that I could serve helpfully after that period of the election, I will be there."
The statement shed new light into recent rumors that Monti might be pressured by internal political forces in his country or foreign leaders to stay at the helm of the Italian economic reform project even after new elections.
Earlier in the week, Monti had told CNN that "it's important that the whole political game resumes in Italy, hopefully with a higher degree of responsibility and maturity."
But many have expressed scepticism Italian polticians could keep that level of responsibility once Monti goes away and they have to take partisan responsibility for governing.
Foreign partners have already noted it would be unacceptable for them if Italy backtracked on promised reforms and austerity measures currently underway.
"As friends of Italy, it is important for us that after the next election it continues on the path of reform," German Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief spokesman Steffen Seibert said Wednesday, according to Reuters.