Center-right chief urges Berlusconi to run in 2013

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 11, 2012 9:04 AM
Center-right chief urges Berlusconi to run in 2013

ROME (Reuters) - Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi should run in elections next year, the secretary general of his center-right People of Freedom party said on Wednesday, increasing signs that the scandal-ridden ex-premier may seek a political comeback.

"There is a great movement of support for Berlusconi. So many people are asking him to stand and I am among them," party secretary Angelino Alfano told reporters at the margins of the annual conference of banking association ABI.

"For someone who governed in such complicated years and who made way for a technocrat government without ever being defeated in parliament or losing an election, I think it is right and legitimate for him to seek the judgment of the Italian people."

Berlusconi left office in a cloud of scandal last year after a sharp worsening in Italy's financial crisis threatened to send borrowing costs spiraling out of control.

The 75-year-old media magnate still faces trial on charges of paying for sex with an underaged prostitute but has made several comments suggesting he may be interested in a comeback, although has made no clear statement of intent.

Although the PDL lost heavily in local elections in May and has been shedding supporters steadily over the last year, Berlusconi has been increasingly targeting the troubled euro currency in a bid to regain popularity.

He said on June 20 that Italy should consider leaving the euro unless Germany agrees to the European Central Bank acting as a guarantor for sovereign debt and printing money to reflate the economy.

(Reporting By Alberto Sisto; Editing by Mark Heinrich)