Berlusconi says Alfano is centre right's premier candidate

PdL secretary has League's backing, says media magnate

Berlusconi says Alfano is centre right's premier candidate

Rome, January 15 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi said Tuesday that Angelino Alfano, the secretary of his People of Freedom (PdL) party, will be Italy's prime minister if the centre right wins next month's elections. Berlusconi, who is leading the centre right's campaigning, had previously said the coalition would decide on the head of government after the elections if it won. This month the PdL reached a deal to resume its alliance with the Northern League which stated that Berlusconi would not become Italian premier for a fourth time if the centre-right coalition wins. Berlusconi has said he would like to be economy minister if his coalition wins, with the centre right making up ground fast in the polls after a series of TV appearances by the 76-year-old media magnate. "Our premier candidate if we win, which I'm certain we will, is Alfano and the League are in agreement," Berlusconi told La7 television. Maroni, who has won the PdL's backing for his bid to become governor of Lombardy thanks to the election pact, previously said he was in favour of former economy minister Giulio Tremonti being at the helm of government rather than Alfano. Tremonti recently left the PdL to form his own party that has strong ties with the League. According to a poll released by La7 on Monday, the centre left's lead over the centre right has fallen to 9.5% of voters, 5.5% lower than a month ago.

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