March 21, 2013 / 11:03 AM / 5 years ago

Italy's Berlusconi demands coalition with center-left

ROME (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 center-right bloc and the center-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 center-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.

Reporting By James Mackenzie and Naomi O'Leary

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