Rome

Berlusconi open to coalition government with PD

'But center left can't have premiership' says ex-premier

Berlusconi open to coalition government with PD

(see related) Rome, March 21 - Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi said he was open to forming a coalition government with the center-left Democratic Party (PD) after exiting a government-formation meeting with the Italian president on Thursday. "We are absolutely open to a coalition government that intervenes with economic measures that are broadly shared," said Berlusconi as he left talks with President Giorgio Napolitano. Napolitano met earlier with Beppe Grillo, the leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), who announced after talks that he would not support the current makeup of the parliament but would instruct party members to vote only for policies that suited its platform. The M5S holds the balance of power in a logjammed parliament after capturing a huge protest vote in inconclusive elections last month. Berlusconi said the M5S's unwillingness to compromise left the responsibility to govern to his center-right coalition and the PD. PD head Pier Luigi Bersani, who has repeatedly ruled out an agreement with Berlusconi, is scheduled to meet later in the day with Napolitano. Berlusconi also voiced his opposition to the possibility of the center left claiming the still-unannounced premiership or the presidency, which will become vacant when Napolitano steps down at the end of his term in May. "They already have the Speakers," said Berlusconi, commenting on the fact that both Senate Speaker Pietro Grasso and House Speaker Laura Boldrini hail from the center left.

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