Bloomberg News

Bersani Rejects Deal With Berlusconi in Repubblica Interview

March 01, 2013

Italian Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani ruled out an alliance with rival Silvio Berlusconi and said he plans a program of reforms to attract votes from all political parties, in an interview with la Repubblica.

A broad coalition government including Berlusconi’s People of Liberty party “would be the death” of the Democratic Party, Bersani said in the Repubblica interview, adding that he will ask other parties to support his program in parliament. “The hypothesis of a broad coalition doesn’t exist and will never exist,” he said.

This week’s vote produced a hung parliament, with former comedian Beppe Grillo’s anti-austerity movement winning more than 25 percent of the popular vote and creating the risk of another election later this year. Bersani’s bloc won a majority in the Chamber of Deputies, while three-time premier Berlusconi won a blocking minority in the Senate and is pushing his rivals to cooperate on a common agenda.

Bersani said he will present a political program at a party meeting March 6 and he will propose himself as a candidate to lead the new government, Repubblica reported.

“Austerity alone leads to disaster,” Bersani told the daily, adding that Europe should relax fiscal policies and focus on jobs. “The debt and deficit consolidation is something that needs to be pushed back to the medium term.”

Bersani said his proposals will include cutting by half the size of parliament, strengthening anti-corruption and conflict of interest laws and boosting the green economy. Changing the election law is “certainly a priority”, he said.

Grillo, whose Five Star Movement won 54 Senate seats, has said his movement will weigh legislation vote by vote. The party “won’t give any vote of confidence to the PD or others,” Grillo wrote on his blog Feb. 27.

That “is not sufficient, since governments are born from a confidence vote,” Bersani told the newspaper.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Vasarri in Rome at cvasarri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net


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