Berlusconi in pact with rightwing League

Berlusconi wants old job back in Italy

    Just Watched

    Berlusconi wants old job back in Italy

Berlusconi wants old job back in Italy 03:44

Story highlights

  • Silvio Berlusconi says he has agreed on a pact with the rightwing Northern League
  • This could lead to no outright winner emerging from the country's parliamentary elections
  • Berlusconi resigned in November 2011 to make way for the appointment of Mario Monti

Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi says he has agreed on an electoral pact with the rightwing Northern League, a development that could lead to no outright winner emerging from the country's parliamentary elections next month.

"Habeamus papam," Mr Berlusconi said in a radio interview, using the Latin for "we have a pope", referring to weeks of hard negotiations with the Milan-based Northern League. He said he had signed an agreement with Roberto Maroni.

Read more: Italy's Berlusconi vows to run for prime minister again

According to opinion polls, Mr Berlusconi's rivals -- the centre-left Democrats and their leftwing allies -- are heading for victory in the February 24-25 elections.

Under Italy's complex electoral system, the winning party or coalition at a national level is guaranteed a majority in the lower house.

However, bonus seats in the senate are awarded on a regional basis. An alliance between Mr Berlusconi's centre-right People of Liberty and the Northern League would avoid splitting their vote in two key battleground regions in the north and could deny the Democrats an outright majority in the upper house.

Berlusconi plans to run again

    Just Watched

    Berlusconi plans to run again

Berlusconi plans to run again 02:51
PLAY VIDEO
Berlusconi sentenced to 4 yrs in prison

    Just Watched

    Berlusconi sentenced to 4 yrs in prison

Berlusconi sentenced to 4 yrs in prison 02:20
PLAY VIDEO
Filmmakers: Italy needs a wake-up call

    Just Watched

    Filmmakers: Italy needs a wake-up call

Filmmakers: Italy needs a wake-up call 03:45
PLAY VIDEO
Berlusconi engaged to 27-year-old

    Just Watched

    Berlusconi engaged to 27-year-old

Berlusconi engaged to 27-year-old 03:16
PLAY VIDEO

Mr Berlusconi's shaky relationship with the Northern League dates back to the first of his three election victories in 1994. Their latest divorce came in November 2011 when Mr Berlusconi resigned under internal pressures and from financial markets to make way for the appointment of Mario Monti as technocrat prime minister.

Berlusconi: Italy's most colorful, controversial public figure

Outlining the details of the agreement reached last night, Mr Berlusconi said he would be leader of their coalition of "moderates". Mr Maroni, head of the Northern League and former interior minister, would be joint candidate for the governorship of the region of Lombardy which holds elections on the same day as the national polls.

Mr Maroni had demanded that Mr Berlusconi step back as the coalition's candidate for prime minister. Mr Berlusconi said in the event of their victory he could be willing to serve as finance minister, and he proposed Angelino Alfano, his party secretary, as prime minister.

Latest opinion polls show Mr Berlusconi and the Northern League gaining ground on the centre-left coalition, but with around 28 per cent of the vote they are still about 14 points adrift of their rivals. Mr Monti's hastily formed alliance of centrist groups is polling around 14 to 15 per cent.

Read more: Ex-Italian PM Berlusconi gets 4-year prison term for tax fraud

In the event of a hung parliament, the Democrats would most likely be forced to negotiate a governing coalition with Mr Monti.

Such an outcome has been viewed as positive by foreign investors and heads of government hoping for continuation of Mr Monti's reforms and fiscal discipline. But the risk remains that Pier Luigi Bersani, leader of the Democrats, would be unable to preserve his party's unity if, as Mr Monti has indicated, the price of such a coalition would be to ditch his more leftwing allies.

Italy's elections are turning into a four-way fight, with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement led by Beppe Grillo, a comedian-activist, polling around 15 per cent.

But the key battle could prove to be that between the sober and professorial Mr Monti and Mr Berlusconi, the 76-year-old billionaire media mogul, as they effectively challenge each other for leadership of Italy's centre-right.

In his recent media blitz, Mr Berlusconi has devoted most of his efforts to attacking Mr Monti's record, as well as the "immorality" of his rival's decision to use his previous neutrality as technocrat prime minister to launch into politics. Mr Monti's dry riposte has been to remind Italians that Mr Berlusconi had invited him last month to lead a coalition of moderates, but that he had refused.

The reforged alliance between Mr Berlusconi and the Northern League is likely to propel their coalition further to the populist right, with both parties critical of the austerity policies they see forced on weaker members of the eurozone by a dominant Germany.

      CNN Business

    • An Iraqi worker adjusts a control valve at the Daura oil refinery on November 5, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq and a grouping of U.S and European oil companies Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell PLC signed a $50 billion contract today to develop the West Qurna oilfield, two days after the Iraqi South Oil Company signed a technical service contract with Britain's BP and China's CNPC to develop the Rumaila oilfield. The Iraqi government is trying to attract foreign investment, especially in the oil sector, in hopes of reviving its war-torn economy. Iraq has the third largest oil reserve in the world but it is producing way below its potential. (Photo by Muhannad Fala'ah/Getty Images)

      Airstrikes, rebels seizing control of oil fields, plus a severe refugee crisis are a recipe for market panic. So why are Iraq oil prices stable?
    • A view of gloves and boots used by medical staff, drying in the sun, at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014. The viral haemorrhagic fever epidemic raging in Guinea is caused by several viruses which have similar symptoms -- the deadliest and most feared of which is Ebola. AFP PHOTO / SEYLLOU (Photo credit should read SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images)

      The biggest Ebola outbreak in history is taking its toll in Western Africa, hitting some of West Africa's most vulnerable economies.
    • People enter a casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 18, 2009. Las Vegas is the most populus city in the US state of Nevada and internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, fine dining and entertainment. Las Vegas which bills itself as the �Entertainment Capital of the World� is famous for the number of casino resorts and associated entertainment. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

      Macau has overtaken Switzerland in the wealth stakes, being named the world's fourth richest territory by the World Bank.
    • spc marketplace middle east ata atmar a_00010015.jpg

      Saudi Arabian Bateel brand is best known for its delectable dates but it now has more than a dozen cafes and a new bakery in the works.
    • Vantablack designed by Surrey NanoSystems absorbs 99.96% of all light. It however will not be the solution to the creating the world's ultimate slimming black dress! A dress made out of this material would render the curves and contours of the human body invisible and would leave the wearer looking like 'two dimensional cardboard cut-out.'

      A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material. It is so dark the human eye can't discern its shape and form.
    • Jibo robot is designed to be an organizer, educator and assist family members. CNN's Maggie Lake met him and says she was impressed with his skills.
    • A picture taken on March 15, 2014 shows children playing at the sprawling desert Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan near the border with Syria which provides shelter to around 100,000 Syrian refugees. Syrian refugees in the seven-square-kilometre (2.8-square-mile) Zaatari camp in Jordan fear that President Bashar al-Assad's likely re-election this year will leave their dream of a return home as distant as ever. The brutal war in Syria between the regime and its foes shows no sign of abating and has killed at least 146,000 people since it erupted in mid-March 2011. And 2.5 million Syrians have fled abroad and another 6.5 million have been internally displaced. Jordan is home to more than 500,000 of the refugees.

      Sandwiched in between Iraq and Syria, Jordan's destiny seems to be one of a constant struggle for survival. John Defterios explains.
    • SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 18: Queen Elizabeth II wears 3 D glasses to watch a display and pilot a JCB digger, during a visit to the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research centre, on November 18, 2010 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by John Giles - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      At the last football World Cup, it was all about 3D. This time around, it's nothing less than 4K.
    • An Iraqi worker adjusts a control valve at the Daura oil refinery on November 5, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq and a grouping of U.S and European oil companies Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell PLC signed a $50 billion contract today to develop the West Qurna oilfield, two days after the Iraqi South Oil Company signed a technical service contract with Britain's BP and China's CNPC to develop the Rumaila oilfield. The Iraqi government is trying to attract foreign investment, especially in the oil sector, in hopes of reviving its war-torn economy. Iraq has the third largest oil reserve in the world but it is producing way below its potential. (Photo by Muhannad Fala'ah/Getty Images)

      Iraq produces 3.3 million barrels per day and has the world's fourth-largest oil reserves. But the current crisis is putting all this in danger.
    • Valves of gas pipe-line are seen in the gas station not far from Kiev on March 4, 2014. The European Union will help Ukraine pay the $2.0 billion it owes to Russian gas giant Gazprom, a top official said Tuesday, as part of an aid package reportedly worth more than one billion euros. AFP PHOTO/ ANDREY SINITSIN (Photo credit should read ANDREY SINITSIN/AFP/Getty Images)

      The gas standoff between Russia and Ukraine could have a knock-on effect on Europe. Explore this map to find out why is the EU nervous.