Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi refused to concede
defeat Friday despite Interior Ministry saying that the number of
disputed election ballots would not be enough to overturn the
victory of center-left leader Romano Prodi.
Italian Interior Ministry confirmed that the number of disputed
ballots was only around 5,000, far fewer than originally
It said the number of contested ballots had been reduced from
43,028 to 2,131 for the House and 39,822 to 3,135 for the
But the ministry added that the election figures were "still
provisional" and that the electoral authorities responsible for
examining the disputed ballots had yet to provide their "definitive
Prodi, who has been congratulated by various heads of government
including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, said after learning of
the ministry figures that "our victory is confirmed".
Berlusconi refused to comment but later told a group of
supporters in Rome that "We will resist".
In a letter to Corriere della Sera, Italy's biggest daily,
Berlusconi said "Which ever way the official counts of the election
result go and whoever receives the substantial seat bonus in the
House, nothing changes: we are dealing with a stalemate and a
situation in which, at least on the basis of the popular vote,
there are neither winners or losers."
He said it was necessary to "study new solutions together",
adding that "a partial, short-term pact in order to deal with the
country's immediate institutional, economic and international
commitments should not be excluded".
(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2006)