Ferrari boss sees role in Italian polls
MARRAKESH, Morocco |
MARRAKESH, Morocco (Reuters) - The chairman of Ferrari does not plan to run for election when Italians go to the polls early next year but will promote candidates from his think-tank to voters disillusioned with mainstream political parties, he said on Friday.
Speculation about Luca Cordero di Montezemolo's political future has heated up since traditional parties lost ground to fringe groups in local elections in May as Italians protested against the economic crisis.
A household name in Italy, known almost as much for his snappy dress sense as his roles at carmakers Ferrari and Fiat, the aristocratic former head of Italy's industry federation is often seen as someone who could succeed in high-level politics.
"Our main goal is to have new people in the political leading class," Montezemolo told Reuters in an interview, saying his Future Italy think-tank would dip into civil society, the business world and academia for candidates.
Speculation that Montezemolo would enter politics grew after he founded Future Italy in 2009, but he remains cagey about what role he himself might play in future.
"My role with my foundation is to give ideas, to give priorities, to make projects for the near future of Italy, and to help to introduce new people in the Italian political leading class," he said on the sidelines of the Financial Times Luxury Conference in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh.
"This does not mean that I will enter, but I will help people to enter because you cannot accept to have in the future the same political class," he said.
The success of unknown candidates belonging to comedian Beppe Grillo's Five-Star Movement in May underscored growing disillusionment among voters with traditional parties.
While that vote signalled Italians' desire for change, only 5 percent said they would like to see Montezemolo as prime minister, an Ipsos poll broadcast on state TV on Tuesday showed.
Italy has been run by an apolitical prime minister since economist Mario Monti took over from Silvio Berlusconi in November as Italy teetered on the edge of debt default.
National elections due in early 2013 should elect a new parliament and government.
Berlusconi's People of Liberty party and other traditional political blocs have all mentioned Montezemolo as a political outsider who could step into politics, but the car company executive has not made any alliances so far.
(Reporting by Souhail Karam; Writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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