ROME, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Former Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi said on Tuesday he and the leader of the Northern
League had agreed a pact to choose the candidate to head an
eventual centre-right governing coalition, a newspaper reported.
Italy is expected to hold a national election by March that
polls suggest the centre-right would win, though it would be
unlikely to obtain a working majority of seats in parliament.
Berlusconi was banned from running for office in 2013 due to
a tax fraud conviction, but is hoping the European Court of
Human Rights will overturn this when it reviews his case in
He told the Corriere della Sera newspaper in an interview
that he and Matteo Salvini agreed that "whichever party of the
centre-right gets more votes" would propose a prime minister for
According to a poll released by the EMG Aqua agency on
Monday, the Northern League is running at 14.8 percent,
Berlusconi's Forza Italia (Go Italy!) at 12.2 percent and the
third centre-right party, Brothers of Italy, at 5.0 percent.
That makes the trio largest single bloc with about 32
Berlusconi told the newspaper he was convinced Forza Italia
would get the most votes. He did not say who the party's
candidate would be if he could not run.
According to the same poll, the governing centre-left
Democratic Party (PD) has about 27 percent and the
anti-establishment 5-Star Movement about 28 percent.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella; editing by John Stonestreet)
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