Italian caretaker Prime Minister Mario Monti has said that he would be ready to offer his leadership to political forces that adopt his agenda of reforms the country needs.

Speaking at an end-of-year news conference, Mr Monti stressed that he was not now entering any political movement.

The former European Commissioner said that he was more concerned about his policy prescriptions being followed than personalities.

Nonetheless, he said that if a political force or coalition offered a credible programme that he supported he would "be ready to offer my encouragement, advice and, if necessary, leadership".

Asked if that meant he was ready to stand as prime minister again, he said: "If a credible political force asked me to run as prime minister for them I would consider it."

Mr Monti said he hoped the next government will have an ample parliamentary majority.

He told reporters that he believed the classic left-right divide was no longer adequate to tackle the problems facing Italy.

Mr Monti resigned last week after his technocrat government lost the support of the centre-right People of Freedom party.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano dissolved parliament yesterday after Mr Monti's decision, with elections due in February.