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Ex-Berlusconi ally: won't support new Monti PM bid

ROME (AP) -- The leader of the party that kept Silvio Berlusconi in power insists he won't support any election alliance to put Italian Premier Mario Monti back in office in voting early next year.

Roberto Maroni, Northern League leader, was quoted as saying Saturday that he told Berlusconi that any support for Monti would be "impossible." Monti was appointed a year ago to replace Berlusconi, amid financial market turmoil. Berlusconi says he's running to regain the premiership but that he could step aside if Monti runs himself.

The Northern League refused to back Monti's government. Maroni said the League could support any run by Berlusconi's political heir, Angelino Alfano. Voter surveys find sagging support for Berlusconi's conservatives. Elections are expected in February. Monti hasn't said if he will run.