Bersani spoiling for TV face-off with Berlusconi

Ready to compete with Monti too

Bersani spoiling for TV face-off with Berlusconi

Rome, December 20 - Centre-left Democratic Party (PD) leader Pier Luigi Bersani said Thursday he was spoiling for a TV face-off with longtime rival, media magnate and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi. "How can you miss (a chance to face) Berlusconi," the PD leader told Sky TV when asked about a pre-election debate, possibly also with outgoing Premier Mario Monti. "I think it's a very useful thing, a serious thing," said Bersani of the mooted debate. Bersani has a healthy lead ahead of the February 24 general election while Berlusconi's recent energetic TV campaigning has brought him close to anti-establishment former comedian Beppe Grillo in second spot. Monti, a technocrat who has revived Italy's credibility since he took over from Berlusconi at the height of the euro crisis 13 months ago, is expected to say Sunday he will helm a cluster of centrist groups whose combined ratings currently put them behind the top three. Asked about Monti's possible entry into the political arena, Bersani said "I don't think parties built around an individual are in Italy's interests". The PD leader reiterated that he would try to reach out to the centre if he won the election and while he had not expected to compete against Monti, "if that were the case we would not have any compunction".

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