Rome

Berlusconi says League will suffer if it refuses alliance

Demands Northern League reconsider supporting his election bid

Berlusconi says League will suffer if it refuses alliance

Rome, December 12 - The regionalist Northern League party will suffer campaign losses if it refuses an alliance, former premier Silvio Berlusconi warned Wednesday. The party will lose control of regional governments in the Veneto and Piedmont regions if it refuses to support his return to active politics, Berlusconi threatened. In a sprawling speech at a book presentation with TV presenter Bruno Vespa in Rome, Berlusconi also said he would call off his bid to become premier for the fourth time if Premier Mario Monti agreed to lead a "moderate coalition" that included the Northern League party. Earlier Wednesday, it was reported that the Northern League had already told Berlusconi it would not revive its alliance with his People of Freedom (PdL) party if he stands at upcoming national elections. "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. 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 Monti's emergency technocrat government from the time it took over power. 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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