Venerdì, 21 Settembre 2018
ROME

Berlusconi seals League deal, 'won't be premier'

English
© ANSA

Rome, January 7 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi
announced Monday that he has reached a deal for his People of
Freedom (PdL) party to resume its alliance with the Northern
League for next month's Italian elections.
But Northern League leader Roberto Maroni said the pact
"explicitly stated" that Berlusconi would not be Italian prime
minister for a fourth time if the centre-right coalition wins.
Maroni had made Berlusconi dropping ambitions to be
premier again a condition for a revival of the long-standing
alliance.
The media magnate said the issue of who will be premier in
the case of a centre-right victory would be addressed after the
elections.
The 76-year-old suggested he may be economy minister and
PdL Secretary Angelino Alfano premier.
"Habemus papam," Berlusconi told RTL radio using the Latin
statement pronounced upon the announcement of a new pope.
"Tonight at 1.30 an agreement was signed between us and the
Northern League.
"Roberto Maroni will be the candidate in Lombardy and I
will be the leader of the moderates (at national level). The
premier will be decided if we win".
Maroni, who has won the PdL's backing for his bid to become
governor of Lombardy thanks to the deal, said he was in favour
of former economy minister Giulio Tremonti being at the helm of
government rather than Alfano.
Tremonti recently left the PdL to form his own party that
has strong ties with the League.
"Berlusconi is the head of the coalition and no premier
candidate is named (in the agreement), but it says explicitly
that it will not be Berlusconi," said Maroni.
"Given that Berlusconi has pointed to Alfano, I'll allow
myself to put forward Tremonti as a candidate.
"We are very satisfied with the agreement as we can say
that we'll probably win in Lombardy with the deal".
He added that the centre right would work to create a
"macro-region" in northern Italy after the elections.
The League has long battled for greater autonomy for the
wealthier richer regions of northern Italy.
It also takes hard-line stances against immigration and
several senior figures have been criticised for making allegedly
xenophobic statements in the past.
The PdL and the League's long-standing alliance ended
after Berlusconi's third government collapsed in November 2011,
when Italy's debt crisis forced the 76-year-old to resign from
office.
The League were staunch opponents of Premier Mario Monti's
emergency technocrat government from the time it took over
power.
The PdL, meanwhile, backed it until last month.
Although it has recovered recently, the PdL is polling at
under 20%, compared to over 30% for the main centre-left
Democratic Party, and had little chance of winning the elections
without the support of the League.

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