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Berlusconi offers olive branch to Alfano

Media magnate says 'last premier elected by people'

14 February, 19:20
Berlusconi offers olive branch to Alfano (ANSA) - Arborea, February 14 - Silvio Berlusconi on Friday offered an olive branch to his former-hier-apparent, Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, and pointed out that he was the last premier to be elected by the Italian people.

The most recent of the Berlusconi's three governments collapsed when he resigned in November 2011 with Italy in danger of a Greek-style financial meltdown.

It was replaced by the emergency technocrat administration of Mario Monti, which made way for outgoing Premier Enrico Letta's coalition government after last year's inconclusive general election.

Letta's resigned Friday after losing a power struggle with the leader of his centre-left Democratic Party (PD), Matteo Renzi who now looks poised to be Italy's third unelected premier in a little over two years. "I'm the last premier to have been elected by the people," Berlusconi said at a rally for his centre-right Forza Italia party ahead of upcoming regional elections in Sardinia.

Alfano split from Berlusconi loyalists in November to form the New Centre Right (NCD) party, which kept supporting Letta's government and enabled it to survive when the ex-premier pulled his support just before he was ejected from parliament after a definitive tax-fraud conviction.

But Berlusconi reiterated Friday that he was ready to form an alliance with Alfano when Italy returns to the polls.

"We want to win the next elections, we want to do it with 37%," he said, referring to a voter threshold for a coalition to get bonus seats in parliament to have a working majority on the basis of an agreement for a new election law he reached with Renzi.

"We have to get them (the NCD) back in or we won't get to 37%".