Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Berlusconi does not rule out being premier again

English
© ANSA

(see related stories)
Rome, February 19 - Silvio Berlusconi said on
Tuesday he may become Italian premier, after all, if his
centre-right coalition wins the February 24-25 election, having
previously said he would not take the helm of government for a
fourth time.
"First we have to win, then we'll see," Berlusconi told
Corriere della Sera when asked about the prospect of him being
PM.
Berlusconi had said he would be economy minister if his
coalition wins, saying this position held more power than
premier, and that his People of Freedom (PdL) party's Secretary
Angelino Alfano would be prime minister.
He claimed that the only power he had as head of government
was to set the agenda at cabinet meetings.
Northern League leader Roberto Maroni, however, implied
that he would not let Berlusconi wriggle out of a pre-election
pact made with his party not to become Italian premier.
"Silvio Berlusconi will respect the agreement with the
League for (the regional vote) in Lombardy and the national
elections," Maroni told ANSA.
"I'm marking him tightly".
Former interior minister Maroni was referring to an
electoral pact signed in January in which the League agreed to
form an alliance at the national level with the PdL in support
for its backing for Maroni's bid to become governor of Lombardy.
Maroni has said that the agreement "explicitly stated" that
Berlusconi would not be Italian prime minister again.
The question of who would be the centre-right's premier
candidate looked to be a question of theoretical importance at
the time, with the centre right trailing Pier Luigi Bersani's
centre left by double figures in the polls.
But Berlusconi managed to narrow the gap to under 5% in
most polls with an intense media blitz before a pre-election
blackout on the publication of opinion surveys kicked in earlier
this month.
The 76-year-old media magnate said Monday that the centre
right had now overtaken the centre left. The centre left
dismissed the claim.
Berlusconi had said he would retire from front-line
politics after being forced to resign in November 2011 when
Italy's financial crisis threatened to spiral out of control.
He reversed the decision last year, when the PdL were
faring particularly badly in the polls, despite the efforts of
his heir Alfano.

LEAGUE-PDL ALLIANCE 'SOLID FOR THE NORTH

Maroni, meanwhile, said his regionalist party's election
alliance with the PDL was solid despite grassroots discontent.
"The League governs together with the PdL in three regions
and 500 local municipalities in the North," Maroni told an ANSA
forum.
"I can understand the complaints coming from the base, but
if the PdL has leprosy and accords are no longer possible the
consequence would be to topple all the administrations.
"Since this cannot be the case, we have renegotiated an
agreement based on the macro-region and (the commitment to
leaving) 75% of taxes in the North," he continued.
"The alliance exists on the basis of this written agreement
and on this basis it is solid and can continue," he concluded.
The PdL and Northern League were allies in the last
Berlusconi government but parted company when technocrat Mario
Monti took over at the height of the euro crisis, with
Berlusconi joining a right-left coalition backing the
ex-European commissioner which the League opposed.
The PdL pulled its support for Monti's 15-month government
in December.

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