Northern League won't 'ally with PdL if Berlusconi runs'

Maroni reportedly calls on ex-premier not to stand

Northern League won't 'ally with PdL if Berlusconi runs'

Rome, December 12 - The Northern League has reportedly told Silvio Berlusconi that it will not revive its alliance with his People of Freedom (PdL) party if he stands at upcoming national elections. The PdL and the League's long-standing alliance ended after Berlusconi's third government collapsed last year when Italy's debt crisis forced the 76-year-old media magnate to resign from office. The League were staunch opponents of Premier Mario Monti's emergency technocrat government from the time it took over power. The PdL, meanwhile, backed it until last week, when it withdrew its support and Berlusconi said he had dropped plans to retire from front-line politics and would stand again. "I'll try to convince him to take a step back (and not run)," Northern League leader Roberto Maroni was quoted as saying by La Republica before meeting Berlusconi late on Tuesday. "If I lose with him on the field, we're finished". The PdL is currently the biggest group in parliament but it has slipped to third place in the polls behind the centre-left Democratic Party and comedian Beppe Grillo's anti-establishment Five Star Movement. "I don't think he'll run in the end," Maroni was quoted as saying by La Republica. "No one knows how to read the polls better than him and sooner or later he'll realise that his decision to stand damages himself too". There had been speculation Maroni was tempted to recreate the alliance with the PdL in exchange for its backing for his bid to become the governor of Lombardy, the region around Milan.

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