Berlusconi hopes for leadership return

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FORMER Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said yesterday that he would run to become the country’s leader for a fifth time, and that his PDL party would vote to pass next year’s budget.

“I’m returning sadly to public service,” Berlusconi, whose colourful premiership came to an end last year, told reporters on the sidelines of the practice field at his AC Milan football club in a broadcast by his 24-hour television news channel TGCOM24.

“And again, I’m doing it out of a sense of responsibility.”

Berlusconi announced he would run in his sixth national election just two days after his People of Liberty party withdrew support for Mario Monti’s government, bringing the country close to a snap election a few months short of the natural end of the legislature.

He had previously hinted that after a brief period out the limelight, he was anxious to make a return to frontline politics.