Berlusconi Ally Bossi Changes Position, Rules Out Early Vote

Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s key coalition ally Umberto Bossi, leader of the Northern League, today ruled out early elections after meeting the premier at one of his mansions on Lake Maggiore.

“We’re forging ahead,” Bossi told reporters after a three-hour meeting, according to footage broadcast by SkyTG24. Until yesterday Bossi had been pushing for elections by the end of the year, almost three years ahead of schedule. Bossi also said a small Catholic party would not be entering the ruling coalition to bolster numbers in parliament.

Berlusconi’s absolute majority in parliament was put at risk when 34 deputies led by Chamber Speaker Gianfranco Fini formed their own group in the lower house at the end of July.

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