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Italian Supreme Court confirms Prodi win

Italy’s Supreme court today confirmed centre-Left leader Romano Prodi’s lower house election win, all but ending Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s five-year grip on power.

Italy’s Supreme court today confirmed centre-Left leader Romano Prodi’s lower house election win, all but ending Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s five-year grip on power. Prodi’s Union coalition won 19,002,598 votes in the lower house to 18,977,843 for outgoing PM Silvio Berlusconi’s House of Freedoms coalition, the Corte di Cassazione said.

Official confirmation of the senate vote, which the centre-Left won by a two-seat majority, is still awaited by individual courts of appeal within the coming days. Italian politics had been in a state of suspended animation for nine days since the election, which provisional results had shown the centre-Left winning by a razor-thin margin. Berlusconi, Italy’s richest man, had steadfastly refused to concede defeat, crediting Prodi’s narrow poll win to ‘‘irregularities’’, and insisting the Supreme court review contested votes.

Prodi’s new government, which will include moderate Catholics, Communists and Liberals from his multi-hued Union coalition, is set to assume power in mid-May.

The new parliament, which convenes on April 28, must first elect a new state President to replace the outgoing 85-year-old Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, whose seven-year term ends on May 18.

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The new Italian President’s first task will be to swear-in Prodi’s government.

Prodi, a 66-year-old former European Commission President, faces an uphill task of putting together a durable government capable of sending a strong signal to the markets and kickstart a stagnant economy, analysts said.

First published on: 21-04-2006 at 12:58:09 am
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