Rome

Bersani says Berlusconi wants to embrace after declaring war

Centre-left leader again rejects offer to form grand coalition

Bersani says Berlusconi wants to embrace after declaring war

(see related stories) Rome, March 25 - Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani again rejected Silvio Berlusconi's offer to form a grand coalition with the centre-right People of Freedom (PdL) on Monday and accused the ex-premier of wanting to embrace after waging war on him. Berlusconi has called on Bersani to reach an agreement for a new government after last month's inconclusive general election but this has not stopped the media magnate launching frequent attacks on the centre left. "We are at the key moment and it's necessary to talk seriously," Bersani said after meeting trade-union and business representatives on Monday. "You cannot declare war in the morning and then embrace in the afternoon". Berlusconi said at a big rally at the weekend that he expected the centre left to hand-pick the next Italian president, rather than finding a consensus candidate. He added that this would amount to a coup d'etat and that he was ready to fight this in parliament and in the streets.

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