Berlusconi, Fini Say They Are Open to Talks If Rhetoric Cools

Aug. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Gianfranco Fini, the leader of a group that left the premier’s party last month, said they were open to talks aimed at keeping the government afloat if the two sides agree to tone down their criticism of each other.

Berlusconi called on his former ally’s supporters to respect the results of the 2008 elections and abandon “irresponsible and sometimes delirious” rhetoric in order to stave off “painful and permanent choices,” according to an e-mailed statement.

Fini, who is the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, responded by asking for “daily aggressions” against him to stop so the two sides could “recuperate a climate of reciprocal respect,” according to a statement.

On July 29, Berlusconi moved to eject Fini from his People of Liberty party. The next day Fini formed a group in the lower house of parliament with enough votes to bring down the government.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Scherer at sscherer@bloomberg.net