Berlusconi says still candidate to be Italy's prime minister

ROME Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:14pm EST

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi smiles as he arrives to attend the book launch of his friend, TV presenter Bruno Vespa, in Rome December 12, 2012. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi smiles as he arrives to attend the book launch of his friend, TV presenter Bruno Vespa, in Rome December 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

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ROME (Reuters) - Silvio Berlusconi said on Wednesday he was still a candidate for prime minister in an election expected in February, despite suggesting earlier he could step down in favour of outgoing premier Mario Monti.

"At this moment I am a candidate for prime minister," Berlusconi said at a book launch in Rome in reply to a question.

Earlier he had said he would withdraw if Monti agreed to run as candidate for a centre-right coalition.

(Editing By Barry Moody)

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