Renzi says wouldn't serve under Bersani

Florence mayor rejects idea of 'consolation prize'

Renzi says wouldn't serve under Bersani

Florence, November 6 - Italian center-left candidate Matteo Renzi declared on Tuesday that he would not accept a ministerial post if his political rival, Pier Luigi Bersani, were to be elected premier. "Be a minister under Bersani? Definitely not," the political upstart and mayor of Florence told Radio 24 on its "24 Morning" program. "If I lose the primaries, I don't want to be like all the others. In past primaries, whoever lost always asked for a sort of consolation prize. It happened with (Fausto) Bertinotti, (Clemente) Mastella, (Antonio) Di Pietro, (Alfonso) Pecoraro Scanio and (Rosy) Bindi, just to name a few," Renzi said. "Personally, if I lose, I will remain as (Florence's) mayor. I won't go to parliament, nor will I be a minister. But if I win, I would like the same behavior also from the (other primary candidates). It would be nice, in sum, if for once those who lose the primaries offer to give a hand up to the last day before the election to the one who won without, however, tying his contribution to a seat". Renzi and Bersani are two favorites in a center-left primary race that has five candidates and goes to vote this month. On Monday, speaking at the University of Turin, Bersani was asked if he would make Renzi a minister in his cabinet if he became premier. "Do you really want to play the cabinet game?" he added. Renzi, 37, is campaigning on a pledge to "scrap" Bersani's generation and the old guard. If elected, pundits think Bersani, 61, is likely to carry on economic reforms from technocrat Mario Monti, who took over from Silvio Berlusconi at the height of the euro crisis almost a year ago. Pollsters say the upstart Renzi could take the primary election if voters turn out in large numbers. But voter disaffection is high, and if a small electorate votes, the veteran Bersani is favored to win. The PD is currently polling around 27%, while Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party has about 15% and comedian Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment Five Star Movement has 20%. The PD does not currently have enough support to form a government on its own, and Grillo is not likely to be an ally, leaving the end result all but clear in the run-up.

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