Berlusconi angles for Italian presidency

By the Associated Press | May 25, 2012 | 3:27 PM EDT

Former Italian Premier and PDL, People for Freedom, party president Silvio Berlusconi looks on during a press conference, in Rome, Friday, May 25, 2012. Berlusconi announced his party will propose a constitutional reform modelled on the French Presidential Republic, giving more power to the President that would be directly elected by citizens.(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

ROME (AP) — Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi appears to be angling for the role of Italian president — with enhanced powers.

Berlusconi, who has been Italy's prime minister three times, said Friday his party will propose a constitutional amendment to allow Italians to directly elect presidents, as France does. Currently, the Italian presidency is mostly a ceremonial post, and elected to a seven-year term only by both houses of Parliament.

Berlusconi said he would like to see the Italian presidency modeled on France's, where it holds more powers than the prime minister and can be extended to two terms.

Berlusconi said the role of president is not his ambition, "but there are responsibilities that one cannot avoid."

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano's term ends next year.