berlusconi
Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said he is willing to back a coalition led by PM Mario Monti (Reuters)

Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi will not run for election in 2013 and is willing to back a government led by current PM Mario Monti.

In a telephone interview broadcast by his own TV station Canale 5, Berlusconi said he would step aside to "allow all moderates to unite in a single force which can face the left together".

"If centre-right-wing leaders share the common feeling that I cannot represent them, I am ready to stand back," he said.

Berlusconi said the "moderate forces" could rally behind Monti.

"I would not rule out it being Mario Monti. Ever since I've known him he has always been in the liberal camp, so it could easily be Mario Monti," Berlusconi said.

Monti was appointed prime minister after Berlusconi over the economic crisis and of the bunga-bunga scandal.

Monti's term is due to end in the spring.

Berlusconi had earlier hinted that he intended to run but the latest survey results show that just 13 per cent of the population would cast their vote for him while Monti would get 37 percent.

The same poll said Italy's centre-left Democratic Party current leader Pier Luigi Bersani would obtain 24 per cent of the votes.

Political restyling

Berlusconi also announced his intention of changing the name of his party - the People of Freedom (PDL) - in an effort to distance it from recent scandals over waste of public money.

"[People of Freedom] is a beautiful name but the acronym PDL doesn't communicate any feeling. We are thinking of a name that can't be abbreviated," Berlusconi said.

"I have always wanted the good of the country I love," he said. "I have never had any personal political ambition."