Berlusconi says he could support leftist president

Berlusconi says he could support leftist president
Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Italy's Silvio Berlusconi on Friday said he could consider supporting a candidate for president from his rivals on the left but only on condition that they form a grand coalition government with him.

"We are certainly ready to discuss it," the scandal-tainted former prime minister, who leads a centre-right coalition that came a close second in February elections, told La Repubblica daily.

"If we agree a path to the presidency, then on the other side we need a grand coalition, with ministers chosen together. Otherwise, no deal," the 76-year-old billionaire tycoon said.

The centre-left, which won the elections but failed to garner enough votes for a majority, on Thursday denied that its leader, Pier Luigi Bersani, had been mooted as a possible president.

Presidents in Italy are elected by parliament and agreement on a candidate is seen as key to ending the deadlock on forming a new government, which has dragged on since the inconclusive elections.

Berlusconi, who has been convicted of tax fraud and is on trial for allegedly having sex with an underage prostitute, also denied that he wanted a president who would give him a legal amnesty.

"Nobody wants an amnesty," Berlusconi said.

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