Berlusconi says will run for Italian leadership again

December 8, 2012 21:32

ROME - Silvio Berlusconi said on Saturday he will stand to lead Italy for a fifth time, challenging the leftist frontrunner a year after being forced to resign amid a sex scandal and a debt crisis.

The 76-year-old media tycoon, facing possible jail time for tax fraud and a trial for having sex with an underage prostitute, had hinted for months he might make a comeback in an election in about three months' time. He accuses technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti of bringing the third-biggest euro zone economy to "the edge of an abyss" with austerity policies.

Berlusconi's centre-right People of Liberty Party (PDL) lags Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) by at least 16 percentage points in opinion polls, and also trails the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

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