Italy's Berlusconi sees Angelino Alfano as successor

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (left) congratulates new PdL leader Angelino Alfano, 1 July 11 Mr Berlusconi anointed Angelino Alfano as the new PdL leader on 1 July

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says he wants former justice minister Angelino Alfano to lead the centre right into the 2013 election.

The daily La Repubblica asked Mr Berlusconi if he would run for re-election again, to which he replied: "absolutely not".

Mr Alfano now heads Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party.

In current court cases, Mr Berlusconi, 74, is accused of corruption and paying an underage prostitute.

"The candidate for premier on the centre right will be Alfano. If I could, I would give it up now," Mr Berlusconi told the newspaper.

"I will campaign and I will help Angelino. I will act as 'patron'," he added.

Mr Berlusconi had previously signalled that he favoured Mr Alfano as his successor and that he would not stand again in the 2013 election.

In the interview he also said he would like his chief of staff Gianni Letta to become Italian president.

Mr Berlusconi, a billionaire businessman and Italy's longest-serving post-war prime minister, has appeared in court several times in recent months.

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