Berlusconi will not seek re-election in 2013

Italian PM faces numerous legal battles and scandals, rejects all charges against him and vows to remain involved in politics.

berlusconi 311 (photo credit: Reuters)
berlusconi 311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will not run for re-election when his current term runs out in 2013 and on Wednesday named his likely successor, Sicilian Justice Minister Angelino Alfano.
Berlusconi, whose political career has been marked by a series of scandals, is currently facing several legal battles, including "Rubygate," the accusation that he paid for sex with an underage Moroccan dancer.
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In confidential remarks to foreign journalists Tuesday that were leaked to Italian news agencies, the 74-year-old premier said magistrates had declared war on the government and represented a "cancer" on the Italian system.
He rejected all the charges against him and pledged to see out his remaining term in office until 2013. After that, he said he may not seek re-election but could remain as a sort of behind-the-scenes father figure on the center-right.
His spokesman Paulo Banaiuti was quoted by Italian news agency ANSA as saying the remarks were merely hypothetical and did not reflect any concrete plan.
Berlusconi's attacks on the magistrates and the bill on trials voted in parliament coincides with the launch of several cases against the prime minister.
The trials were previously suspended by a measure passed by his government which allowed him to claim that his official duties meant he did not have enough time to prepare his defense and could therefore claim immunity from trial while in office.
The constitutional court ruled against that measure in January, prompting magistrates to re-open fraud and bribery trials and bring the prostitution case to court.
Following approval in the lower house, the measure will go to the Senate, where Berlusconi's center-right government has a majority, for final approval.