Berlusconi's decision to run teetering on Monti

Ex-premier says 'B' effect has raised Pdl's ratings

Berlusconi's decision to run teetering on Monti

Rome, December 14 - Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi reiterated on Friday that his decision to stand in the country's upcoming elections depended on whether Premier Mario Monti chose to run or not. Speaking on one of his three TV channels, Berlusconi said that he would remain open to running until "Monti's decision is announced". The former premier said that his possible return to the political playing field had already created a positive effect by driving his Pdl party's ratings up 3 points since last week. "In other words there is a 'B' effect thanks to the return of Silvio Berlusconi on the political scene," he said. Berlusconi has repeatedly changed his position to stand for a fourth term as Italian premier or not. On Wednesday, the media magnate said he would not stand if Monti agreed to lead a broad coalition that would include his centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) party, the centrist UDC and the populist, regionalist Northern League. In Friday's interview Berlusconi said that a coalition of moderates together with Monti could win the elections. "I would like decisions to be taken in the interest of the country. Instead some small groups have tended more to the interests of their minor leaders, that is why moderates have failed to bond. A great union of moderate forces is the only way to win elections," Berlusconi said. Berlusconi was highly critical of the record of Monti's government when his People of Freedom party withdrew its support from it last week and he announced that he would run again for office. Berlusconi blasted Monti's austerity policies as "too German-centric". But he has since vowed to continue the 'Monti agenda' of structural reforms and fiscal discipline.

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