As Italy's emergency government has proven able to stabilize the national economy and markets, a debate has been mounting here on whether Prime Minister Mario Monti or other members of his cabinet will become candidate for a second term.
Speaking at the Ambrosetti international economic conference in northern Italy, Monti said he has "no doubt" that he will not seek a second term in office, when the current one ends next year.
"My horizon ends in April 2013," Monti said adding that he "cannot believe there is not another leader in Italy able to lead the country."
But various analysts at the conference, a prestigious annual meeting that brings together heads of state and personalities to discuss the global outlooks behind closed doors, greeted warmly Monti and his ministers calling on them to compete for a second term.
Monti, an estimated economics professor who served as a European Commissioner from 1995 to 2004, was appointed as Italy's premier last November in a very crucial phase for the recession-hit country whose borrowing costs had reached a dangerous threshold.
Over the past 10 months, his cabinet of non-political technocrats has carried on a tough plan of austerity measures succeeding in bringing down budget deficit and lowering the spreads levels against the German bond, a barometer of investor confidence.
The plan, that included a pension and labor reform, has secured for now the country, "which is not expecting to access the European Central Bank's new bond-buying program anytime soon," Monti said at the forum.
He said his government plans to keep Italy on track to return to economic growth sometime in 2013 by implementing structural changes to tackle the crucial problem of unemployment, which is now over 10 percent, and much more for young people.
Corrado Passera, the current economic development minister and former CEO of Italy's biggest retail Bank Intesa Sanpaolo, said that "Monti's work that has restored credibility for the county must be continued after the end of this mandate."
Several international economists and businessmen participating in the forum see Monti's government as a lighthouse for the future of the Mediterranean country.
Franco Bernabe, chairman of the largest Italian telecommunications company Telecom, said the government program should be maintained "without discontinuity," while the president of BNL bank Luigi Abete called for a "reflection" on the possibility of a second technocratic cabinet.
Ferdinando Beccalli Falco, president and CEO of GE Europe, thinks that many foreign companies will decide whether to invest in Italy according to its political evolution, and the best-case scenario would be "going ahead with Monti's agenda."
A second mandate for Monti, who could lead a "grand-coalition" made of the heterogeneous majority that backs now his government, was highly possible after next election also for noted economist Nouriel Roubini.
Apart from economic and business leaders, a "Monti replay" is also increasingly supported by common citizens who have lost faith in scandal-hit politicians over the past years.
According to Corriere della Sera, the widest circulation newspaper in Italy, nearly 40 percent of Italians would prefer the next government that will come out from election scheduled in April 2013 to be still made of technocrats.
And among those aged below 35 and with higher education level, the pro-Monti figure reached 50 percent.