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Monti won't say who he would prefer to back after Italian election next month

Outgoing Premier Mario Monti is refusing to reveal who he would like to be his coalition partner should he be in a position to help form a government after Italy's general election next month.

Monti said Saturday in Milan he'd discuss potential government coalition partners only after the votes have been counted.

Opinion polls show no party, or coalition of parties, is likely to win more than 50 percent of the vote in the Feb. 24-25 election.

Though Monti is polling 10 percent, he may hold the balance of power. He has voiced criticism of both his predecessor, conservative leader Silvio Berlusconi, and front-running center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani.

Monti, an economist appointed as premier in late 2011, won international support for pushing through austerity and economic reform measures.

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