24/03/13 08:56 CET
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Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi says he is ready for a snap election if efforts fail to form a government.
Speaking at a rally in Rome, the centre-right bloc leader told thousands of his supporters another contest was the only solution possible because last month’s inconclusive result has led to a month-long deadlock.
But he also warned the centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani that if he insists on making “a ridiculous attempt” to govern with a minority then he should be ready to have an extremely strong opposition.
The media tycoon’s show of force will put pressure on Bersani, who has so far ruled out another centre-right and centre-left coalition like the one led by Mario Monti. But for many Italians, who joined an anti-Berlusconi protest in Rome last night, there is no question of going back, especially with Berlusconi facing three ongoing trials, including one for paying for sex with a minor. A definitive conviction would preclude him from holding political office. He denies any wrongdoing.
Bersani begins talks with political leaders on Monday to see whether he can win backing in parliament to form a government and end the political impasse.
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