ROME - Silvio Berlusconi will not stand as candidate for prime minister in next month's Italian election under the terms of a coalition deal with the Northern League, the head of the pro-devolution party said on Monday.
The pact is vital for Berlusconi's plans to undermine the center-left government expected to emerge from the February 24-25 election but the League's rank and file oppose the scandal-plagued media magnate as a candidate for prime minister.
Northern League leader Roberto Maroni told a news conference the coalition deal "says explicitly that the candidate for prime minister will not be Silvio Berlusconi. Silvio Berlusconi accepted the request to not stand as prime minister."
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