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News Analysis: Berlusconi's return to politics, mission impossible? (2)

By Eric J. Lyman (Xinhua)

11:05, July 12, 2012

That said, it is still above the 23 percent approval level Berlusconi reached in the last poll before his resignation and the 33-percent approval in the latest Opinioni poll, from mid-June. But apparently, Berlusconi smells blood in the water.

Monti's mandate is expected to expire next year, after new elections are held.

"There's no doubt that Monti is vulnerable, but that doesn't matter much because he won't run in 2013," said Maria Rossi, Opinioni's co-director.

"What is more important from Berlusconi's side is that there is no figure who has emerged as a strong candidate to take over after Monti leaves," she said.

Berlusconi could face a difficult battle to return to power, since the People of Freedom party he founded has the support of just 18 percent of the voting public, said the latest Opinioni poll. That's the lowest level for a Berlusconi-baked party since he first entered politics in 1994.

But that had not stopped the party from turning to Berlusconi. As Alfano put it, the party has been lobbying Berlusconi to throw his hat in the ring.

The most likely path for Berlusconi to resume the post as prime minister next year is that his party would finish elections with a large voting bloc and then President Giorgio Napolitano would ask Berlusconi to try to cobble together a coalition government, said local analysts.

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