Italy's Berlusconi demands coalition with centre-left

ROME, March 21 Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:55am EDT

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ROME, March 21 (Reuters) - Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Thursday the only possibility for forming a new government would be a cross-party coalition between his centre-right bloc and the centre-left alliance led by Pier Luigi Bersani.

Speaking after a meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano, Berlusconi said Bersani, whose alliance has a majority in the lower house but not in the Senate, did not have the numbers to govern alone.

"We're absolutely ready for a coalition government which would intervene immediately with measures on the economy which are widely shared," he said.

He also repeated that the centre-left should not be able to appoint both a prime minister and the next president of the republic to succeed Napolitano, whose term ends on May 15.

Bersani has repeatedly rejected offers of an alliance with Berlusconi.

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