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

By Eric J. Lyman (Xinhua)

11:05, July 12, 2012

ROME, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian Prime Minister who resigned last year, is considering a return to politics and premiership in 2013, a key ally said Wednesday.

"We are all asking him to run and I believe that in the end he will decide to lead the party," Angelino Alfano, secretary general of the People of Freedom party and Berlusconi's hand-picked political heir, said in an interview aired by Sky-Italia's TG24 news program.

Berlusconi, who stepped down last year amid personal scandal and growing fears that Italy could fall victim to the swelling European debt crisis, has not yet commented on Alfano's remarks.

When Berlusconi resigned in November 2011, he promised to dedicate himself to the day-to-day operations of Mediaset, the cinema and television giant he founded and controls.

However, the 75-year-old billionaire has never strayed far from politics, repeatedly weighing in on hot political topics and giving only qualified support to Mario Monti, an economist and former European Commissioner who took over as the head of a technocrat government after Berlusconi resigned.

Monti's approval levels erode from more than 80 percent upon taking office to just 38 percent, largely due to his tough economic and political reforms, according to the latest poll from Rome polling firm Opinioni.

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