Neoliberal Italian PM Mario Monti lashed out at his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi today as he pleaded for a second unelected term to "vindicate" his economic policies.
Mr Berlusconi, who is appealing against a conviction for tax fraud and also faces charges of having sex with minors, said Mr Monti should not put himself forward as he lacked "credibility."
The prime minister, a banker, has never been elected to office and was appointed to appease the European Union by implementing sweeping spending cuts in 2011. He is favoured by the EU since his senator for life status means he can pursue deeply unpopular policies which would lose other politicians an election.
Mr Monti said Mr Berlusconi's attack was "the judgement of someone who has shown a certain volatility in judgement.
"I would like there to be something like a 'Monti Two' to let Italians see that in my face there is not the wickedness of the taxman," he added cryptically.