Berlusconi will 'absolutely not' seek new term
Friday 08 July 2011
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he would not run again when his term expires in 2013 and nominated Justice Minister Angelino Alfano as his successor to lead the centre right into the next election.
In a wide-ranging interview with the daily La Repubblica published on Friday, the 74 year-old premier criticised his own economy minister, promised to modify an austerity package and repeated his intention to stand aside from official duties.
"Absolutely not," he said, when asked whether he would stand again. "The candidate for premier on the centre right will be Alfano. If I could, I would give it up now."
Berlusconi, who is fighting allegations of corruption and of paying for sex with an underaged prostitute, has made similar remarks on a number of occasions recently. He has already named the 40 year-old Alfano, named this month as secretary-general of the ruling People of Freedom party, as his successor.
"I will campaign and I will help Angelino. I will act as 'patron'. I will try to build the EPP (European People's Party) in Italy. But at 77 years of age, I can't be prime minister."
He also ruled out any bid to become president of Italy, saying he believed the position as head of state should go to Gianni Letta, his chief of staff and most trusted aide.
Berlusconi dismissed concerns that allies including the restive, pro-devolution Northern League would reject Alfano, a Sicilian lawyer, as the new head of the centre right.
"Why not? I've already spoken about it. I think everyone agrees," he said.
Berlusconi's government has been struggling in recent months, slipping in the opinion polls and suffering sharp losses in local elections and referendums.
Tensions within the coalition have been heightened by an austerity budget aimed at eliminating the deficit in 2014 and shielding Italy from the Greek debt crisis.
Berlusconi promised the budget - closely watched by markets and ratings agencies for any signs of being watered down - would be modified in parliament and took a swipe at his economy minister, Giulio Tremonti, who drew up the package.
"He is worried about the markets, I understand him. But I always remind him that in politics the result is made up of consensus and votes. He isn't interested in consensus, but we are," he said.
"So, without changing the overall sum, we will change the budget in parliament."
Italian media have long speculated that there is a widening rift between Berlusconi and Tremonti, who has been considered a potential successor to the media magnate.
In the La Repubblica interview, Berlusconi made his most explicit criticism in recent months of the economy minister.
"You know, he thinks he's a genius and that everyone else is stupid," Berlusconi said. "I put up with him because I've known him for a long time and one has to accept the way he is. But he's the only one who is not a team player."
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
Winston Churchill: From accusations of anti-Semitism to the blunt refusal that led to the deaths of millions
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...