Berlusconi open to talks on leftist president: report

MILAN Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:53am EDT

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi leaves after a meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano at Quirinale palace in Rome March 29, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi leaves after a meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano at Quirinale palace in Rome March 29, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stefano Rellandini

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MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's Silvio Berlusconi offered on Friday to support a center-left politician for president in an upcoming election but stuck to his demand in return for a grand coalition in which he would share power.

"We are ready to discuss it," he said, referring to the election of a member of the Democratic Party (PD) for Italy's next president.

Asked if he would still insist on the center-left entering a coalition with his People of Freedom party as a condition for his support, Berlusconi said: "Certainly that's clear."

The election of the next president, to succeed Giorgio Napolitano whose term ends on May 15, is the next big test for the parliament, which is split between the two traditional center-right and center-left blocs as well as the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

The PD has consistently rejected a pact with Berlusconi, leaving the country in political stalemate.

(Reporting by Jennifer Clark; editing by Patrick Graham)

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