Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti says he is ready to govern the country again as head of a pro-reform coalition in favour of change in Italy and Europe but will not be a candidate in the February election.
'If one or more political forces adhere to my agenda and put forward the idea of proposing me for the post of premier, I would weigh the option,' the outgoing premier said at a news conference on Sunday following his resignation on Friday.
Monti cannot officially be on the ballot for the February 24-25 vote as he is already a senator-for-life, but under Italy's electoral system he could be asked to join the government, even as prime minister, by whoever wins.
'I am ready to give my approval, my encouragement and, if called to, my leadership' to those parties who get behind the reforms, Monti said.
Monti outlined a program to 'change Italy and reform Europe', saying that the main point was not to turn the clock back on austerity measures and reforms and thereby 'destroy the sacrifices that everyone has made this year'.
A former economics professor and high-flying European commissioner, the 69-year-old urged more reforms of Italy's 'archaic' labour laws, an overhaul of the painfully slow justice system and equal opportunities for women.
Monti also took on billionaire media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi, saying his predecessor, who is running in his sixth election in two decades, had made proposals including the abolition of a new property tax that were 'very dangerous and illusory'.
Monti defended his record after 13 months in government, saying Italy - battling a two trillion euros ($A2.55 trillion) debt mountain - had managed to extract itself from the eurozone debt crisis without resorting to an international bailout.
'The financial crisis has been overcome,' he said.
Monti handed in his already announced resignation on Friday after Berlusconi's People of Freedom party withdrew its support for his technocrat government in parliament, triggering early elections.
That could turn the February vote into a nail-biting three-way race between the scandal-tainted Berlusconi who has dismissed Monti as 'a complete disaster', former communist Pier Luigi Bersani and a Monti-backed reform coalition.
Other options mentioned by local media in recent days include the possibility that Monti could take on the largely ceremonial role of president or a top post in the European Union.
Opinion polls have so far tipped Bersani and his Democratic Party as the winners of the election, but without an outright majority.