This from the FT's Guy Dinmore in Rome:
'The German government has warned Silvio Berlusconi not to target Berlin in the run up to elections..'
'Guido Westerwelle, foreign minister, said the government would not interfere in Italy's elections'
Notice here the word 'warned' and the gracious tone with which Germany says it will not interfere with the functioning of another democratic nation. Pretty decent of it, don't you think?
To continue, Angela Merkel said 'I support what the government of Mario Monti has done in introducing reforms....so the Italian people will no doubt make their choice to ensure Italy continues on the right track'.
The current administration in Germany doesn't do leadership very well. They made a mess of their relations with Greece and have made themselves unpopular in several other countries. It is entirely their own fault if they become the butt of the electoral campaign in Italy and it is quite understandable if the Italian electorate were to resent her replacement of an elected leader with her own man. Monti has become increasingly unpopular here.
The sort of statement quoted above just makes things worse. Now, if Monti stands in the election, many will see him as the puppet of Angela Merkel.
Sometimes in politics, the best thing to do is remain silent.