Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi hinted on
Saturday that he may seek to run in spring elections, changing
his mind again and deepening chaos in his centre-right party.
A day before the centre-left is due to hold primary elections
to pick a candidate to lead their alliance in the national
poll, the centre-right is still unsure about whether to hold
its own primary vote, which hinges on Berlusconi's plans.
Asked by reporters on Saturday (local time) whether he was
considering "returning to the playing field", Berlusconi
said, "I am thinking about it."
Italy will hold a parliamentary election in March next year
to pick a government and new leader to take over from Mario
Monti, who came to power a year ago when Berlusconi stepped
aside at the height of the financial crisis.
After months of hinting that he may run and then
backtracking, Berlusconi said at the end of October that he
would not lead his People of Freedom (PDL) party in the
The centre-right has been preparing to hold its own primary
vote on December 16 to choose a new leader, but PDL secretary
Angelino Alfano said on Saturday that "would not make much
sense" if Berlusconi decides to stand himself.
The PDL has been close to disintegration due to disputes over
whether to stick with Monti's unpopular economic policies.
The party has slumped in opinion polls to less than half its
support in 2008 elections, and speculation has been growing
that Berlusconi may form his own breakaway party.