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Berlusconi says will remain in opposition

PD denies talking to FI on govt make-up

15 February, 19:29
Berlusconi says will remain in opposition (see related).

(ANSA) - Rome, February 15 - Centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi on Saturday said his Forza Italia (FI) party would remain in opposition to a new government expected to be led by centre-left Democratic Party (PD) head Matteo Renzi.

"We are in opposition to this future government," Berlusconi said after his first meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano since he was ejected from parliament on a tax-fraud conviction at the end of November.

Berlusconi pulled his support from the previous administration of PD former deputy head Enrico Letta after his expulsion and the breakaway New Centre Right kept Letta afloat until Renzi effectively ousted him at a PD meeting two days ago.

Berlusconi said he told Napolitano about FI's "amazement at this murky crisis triggered outside parliament and inside a single party". The three-time premier and media magnate added he hoped a Renzi-led government would try to steer the European Union away from austerity towards growth policies.

Meanwhile the PD denied reports it was negotiating with FI about the make-up of a Renzi administration.

It said, however, it would continue to work with FI on electoral and other reforms to favour stability and cut costs by stripping the Senate of its lawmaking status, scrapping provincial governments and handing some regional powers back to Rome, on the basis of a recent deal between Renzi and Berlusconi.

Berlusconi also said FI would respect the deal, which requires changes to the Italian Constitution.