Maroni says only seeking new life (5)

Deal with Berlusconi to become AC Milan president, he quips

(ANSA) - Rome, January 9 - Lombardy Governor Roberto Maroni reiterated Tuesday he was not seeking re-election in March 4 elections and was not going to stand for any other position, other than seeking "a new life", after speculation he could be a centre-right premier candidate. Maroni said "I didn't ask for anything and I'm not looking for anything," reiterating that he was standing down "for personal reasons".
    The only deal Maroni has with Silvio Berlusconi is to become president of his former soccer club, AC Milan, the Lombardy governor said of the three-time ex-premier, centre-right leader and billionaire media magnate. "I've heard of this secret deal supposedly between me and Berlusconi," said Maroni, who said yesterday he will not seek re-election on March 4. "I confirm it, not to be premier, but to be the president of Milan if he buys it back".
    AS for the choice to be centre-right governor candidate, between former Varese mayor Attilio Fontana of Maroni's League and former education minister Mariastella gelmini of Forza Italia, Maroni said he was "rooting got Fontana".
    But he said the important thing was "to choose quickly".
    Berlusconi said earlier Tuesday the centre right was awaiting the results of polls showing how each candidate would perform against centre-left Democratic Party candidate Giorgio Gori, the mayor of Bergamo. Maroni was speaking after a meeting on autonomy at the regional affairs ministry.
    Earlier Tuesday Berlusconi, leader of the centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party, ruled out the possibility that Maroni will be part of the new national government if the centre right wins March's general election. Maroni announced Monday that he would not be standing for re-election in the northern region, which also votes for a new regional assembly on March 4.
    Matteo Salvini, the leader of Maroni's League party, echoed that line.
    "If you leave your post on the Lombardy region, which is worth more than many ministries, obviously you can't do anything else in politics," he said.