Italy's Berlusconi demands coalition with center-left or new vote

ROME Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:14am EDT

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi looks on during a news conference at Chigi Palace in Rome August 4, 2011. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi looks on during a news conference at Chigi Palace in Rome August 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

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ROME (Reuters) - Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi repeated on Monday that center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani must go into coalition with his center-right group or Italy should hold a new vote after last month's deadlocked election.

Democratic Party leader Bersani, whose alliance won a majority in the lower house of parliament but not in the Senate, is in talks with parties this week to see if he can form a government. He has so far rejected the idea of going into coalition with the center-right group led by Berlusconi's People of Freedom party.

"Either the Democratic Party...does the reasonable thing and opens to a government with the People of Freedom...or the only thing to do is return to vote as soon as possible," Berlusconi said in an interview on his own Canale 5 television.

(Reporting by Naomi O'Leary; editing by James Mackenzie)

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