Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi has muddied the political waters over his intension to seek re-election.
While initially saying he was up for another term as prime minister, he surprised journalists at a book presentation saying he would step back if the current PM Mario Monti, decided to run as leader of a centre-right coalition.
“If Monti’s intention changes, I declare that I would have no problem withdrawing my candidature as I have no personal ambition,” said Silvio Berlusconi. “After all I am the Italian who has been at Palazzo Chigi longer than everyone else!”
The three-time prime minister then complicated matters saying he was still a candidate but added that the current secretary of his People of Freedom party, Angelino Alfano could also be in the running.
Reaction to a possible Berlusconi comeback has prompted widespread criticism. Mario Monti is credited with pulling Italy back from the brink of bankruptcy, but he still hasn’t declared his candidacy.