Berlusconi says could be premier if centre right wins
Media magnate had ruled out being PM for fourth time19 February, 13:47
Berlusconi had said he would be economy minister if his coalition wins, saying this position held more power than premier, and that his People of Freedom (PdL) party's Secretary Angelino Alfano would be prime minister.
He claimed that the only power he had as head of government was to set the agenda at cabinet meetings.
However, the decision not to present himself as premier candidate seemed to have been dictated by Northern League leader Roberto Maroni.
Former interior minister Maroni said in January that the electoral pact the League had reached to revive its alliance with the PdL "explicitly stated" that Berlusconi would not be Italian prime minister.
The question of who would be the centre-right's premier candidate looked to be a question of theoretical importance at the time, with the centre right trailing Pier Luigi Bersani's centre left by double figures in the polls.
But Berlusconi managed to narrow the gap to under 5% in most polls with an intense media blitz before a pre-election blackout on the publication of opinion surveys kicked in earlier this month.
The 76-year-old media magnate said Monday that the centre right had now overtaken the centre left. The centre left dismissed the claim.
Berlusconi had said he would retire from front-line politics after being forced to resign in November 2011 when Italy's financial crisis threatened to spiral out of control.
He reversed the decision last year, when the PdL were faring particularly badly in the polls, despite the efforts of his heir Alfano.