Berlusconi tries for power-sharing deal with centre-left

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Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has insisted the only way out of Italy’s political deadlock is for his centre-left rivals to accept a coalition deal giving him a share of power.

He met president Giorgio Napolitano yesterday, after centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani failed to end the month-old stalemate following last month’s election that has fuelled worries about the stability of the eurozone’s third largest economy.

The 76-year-old billionaire said there was “no other solution” than a coalition and he ruled out backing a technocrat government like the one led by outgoing premier Mario Monti, whom he blames for pushing Italy into recession.

“Our position has not changed. We expressed it with absolute clarity to the president,” centre-right leader Mr Berlusconi said after meeting Mr Napolitano. “Our position is the one the polls dictate: a broad coalition between the available forces… an absolutely political government, given the negative and tragic experience we had of a technocrat government.”

A senior official from Mr Bersani’s Democratic Party (PD) rebuffed the offer, saying it was “very difficult” to imagine a coalition with Mr Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) party. “There are too many important issues in PDL policies that are light years from those of the Democratic Party,” Luigi Zanda, head of the PD group in the Senate, said.

After five days of talks this week, Mr Bersani, who won the biggest share of the vote but fell short of a majority, failed to reach a deal with either Mr Berlusconi, or Beppe Grillo’s Five-Star Movement, which holds the balance of power.

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