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Berlusconi Strikes Election Deal With League, Wants To Be Economy Minister

Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Monday he had reached an agreement with the Northern League to run together in elections in February and that he wanted to be economy minister in a future centre-right government.

Berlusconi told an Italian radio station that he had struck the deal with Roberto Maroni, leader of the regionalist League, which was coalition partner in his last government.

According to the agreement, Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) party would support Maroni’s candidacy for president of the northern region of Lombardy as part of a global deal.

He did not give other details of the accord but said he would be the “leader of moderates” in a centre-right coalition with the League.

Source: Reuters

Read more: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/01/07/uk-italy-vote-idUKBRE90606W20130107

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Eurozone crisis live: Silvio Berlusconi reaches Italian election deal

Analysis: Why Berlusconi’s Northern League deal really matters

Here’s Southern Europe editor John Hooper’s explanation of how the alliance between the People of Liberty Party and the Northern League could have a major impact on next month’s election:

To understand why Berlusconi’s pact with the Northern League is so important you need to start with the Italian constitution. Unlike Britain and France, Italy has a parliament in which the two chambers have equal powers. So, to govern Italy (if anyone can be said to have governed Italy!), you need a majority in BOTH houses.

In 2005, Berlusconi’s then government brought in a new electoral law that made it perfectly feasible for a party to win the popular vote and take control of the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, but fail to get an outright majority in the Senate. The reason is that, in each region, the party topping the poll in the Senate vote gets a hefty bonus to give it 55% of the upper house seats in that region. So parties whose following is concentrated in a particular region (like
the Northern League) can achieve a disproportionate representation.

Then, as now (see below), the centre-left was ahead in the polls and it was an open secret that Berlusconi – acknowledging he could not win the election – wanted to lay a minefield for the likely victors. The centre-left did indeed win in 2006, but obtained only a razor-thin majority in the upper house and fell after two tumultuous years of knife-edge votes in the Senate.

At which point prime minister Romano Prodi left office to be replaced by…. (yup, you’ve guessed it).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jan/07/eurozone-crisis-berlusconi-italy-stock-markets scroll to 10.27am GMT

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