Berlusconi 'should run for Italy PM' again - party boss

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. File photo Mr Berlusconi resigned in November amid Italy's growing economic crisis

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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi should run for re-election next year, the head of his centre-right party says.

"There is a great movement of support for Berlusconi. So many people are asking him to stand and I am among them," Angelino Alfano said.

The People of Freedom party (PdL) did poorly in local elections in May.

Mr Berlusconi, 75, has been mired in court battles over sleaze allegations. He resigned last November.

He was replaced as prime minister by the technocrat Mario Monti. Mr Monti repeated this week that he does not intend to stand for re-election.

Mr Berlusconi has not confirmed that he will campaign again in the elections due next April.

"I think in the end he will decide to come back," Mr Alfano said on Wednesday.

Mr Berlusconi still faces trial on charges of paying for sex with an underaged prostitute, Moroccan nightclub dancer Karima El-Mahroug, known as Ruby. He denies the charges.

Mr Berlusconi, a billionaire media tycoon, left office when his political support drained away at the height of Italy's debt crisis. He has dominated Italian politics for the past decade, despite a spate of court battles.

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