(ANSA) - Rome, October 8 - Former Italian premier Silvio
Berlusconi is prepared not to run in elections "in order to
unite the center-right", the secretary of his People of Freedom
(PdL) party said Monday.
"In order not to surrender Italy to the left, we need a
gesture of vision and generosity from the other leaders of the
center-right," said Angelino Alfano en route to a meeting with
Enrico Letta, a heavyweight in the center-left Democratic Party
(PD) and ex-Berlusconi ally Pierferdinando Casini, leader of the
Union of the Centre (UDC).
"I hope that the facts come to show that what Alfano says
is true, but Italians are used to Berlusconi changing his mind,"
Since Mario Monti replaced Berlusconi in November, the PdL
has criticized the government of technocrats for its tough
austerity measures, and party leaders have repeatedly said that
Berlusconi would run again.
But the PdL's tone has softened as of late, with some
members of the party calling for an overhaul of the party
structure and image following a raft of corruption cases,
culminating in last week's arrest of former PdL Lazio caucus
leader Franco Fiorito.
Polls currently give the center-left PD a clear lead over
the centre-right PdL with comedian Beppe Grillo's Five Star
protest movement third.