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Berlusconi Says He Won’t Run, Open to Endorsing Monti

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berluscon. Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he doesn’t plan to run for the premiership in elections due by May and would consider endorsing an alliance of moderates to back a new government led by Mario Monti.

“I am making an appeal directed at all moderates who represent the majority of Italians and don’t consider themselves leftists,” Berlusconi said in an interview today on Canale 5 television, controlled by his Mediaset SpA broadcast company. “I don’t exclude Mario Monti as leader of an alliance of moderates.”

Berlusconi would step aside if it would help forge an alliance of parties that could defeat the Democratic Party, which leads in opinion polls, he said in another interview that appeared today in Libero newspaper.

Monti, appointed premier when Berlusconi’s government unraveled in November, has said he would consider serving another term if asked, though he won’t run in the election. Some of the parties to which Berlusconi is reaching out openly support the idea of another Monti government.

Union of Centrists leader Pier Ferdinando Casini has said that as long as Berlusconi was a candidate for premier, there could be no alliance between the centrists and Berlusconi’s People of Liberty party. Casini supports asking Monti to stay on as prime minister after the election.

Ferrari SpA Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo has also talked about forming a political party to present a pro-Monti list of candidates.

“If Casini and Montezemolo, to give life to a new alliance with the People of Liberty, don’t want Berlusconi, then Berlusconi will remove himself,” the former premier told the newspaper.

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