Rome

Berlusconi ready to be minister, not PM, to win over League

'The problem of me doesn't exist,' says three-time premier

Berlusconi ready to be minister, not PM, to win over League

(see related stories) Rome, January 3 - Three-time Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi said Thursday he would be willing to serve as a minister, rather than prime minister, in a future centre-right government in order to revive his People of Freedom (PdL) party's long-standing alliance with the Northern League. League leader Roberto Maroni recently told Berlusconi that the alliance would not be resumed if the ex-premier were to run for office again. "I could be the economy minister, the foreign minister, whatever serves my country and those who do not see themselves represented by the left," Berlusconi told Italian radio. "The problem of me does not exist". The PdL and the League's long-standing alliance ended after Berlusconi's third government collapsed in November 2011, 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 month. The PdL is behind in the polls and has little chance of winning next month's elections without the support of the League. "The League would take away 5% or 6% (of the vote from the centre right) making the victory of the moderates more difficult," said Berlusconi. "I'm always determined to work for the good of my country".

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