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Italian Supreme Court Confirms Prodi's Win
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Italian Supreme Court announced Wednesday that center-left leader Romano Prodi had won last week's general election, dismissing complaints by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi that the vote was marred by irregularities.

The confirmation by the Court of Cassation officially ended a stalemate over the razor-thin majority won by the center-left, after Berlusconi's refusal to concede defeat.

After the confirmation Prodi said that Italians should have no doubts about his electoral win.

"Finally the electoral affair is over," Prodi said at a press conference. "Italians have no more doubts about our victory."

According to the supreme court's statement, Prodi won the election in the lower house by 24,755 votes. Provisional results last week said the winning margin was a slightly higher 25,224 votes.

But under an electoral law pushed through parliament by Berlusconi's government, Prodi's coalition is guaranteed 63 extra seats in the event of a close finish. In the Senate, it will have a two-seat majority.

Under the Italian constitution, it is the president's job to formally appoint a new government. President Carlo Ciampi's term ends on May 18 and the 85-year-old president has made it clear that he wants his successor - who will be chosen by parliament in voting on May 12 to 13 - to name the new premier. As a result, Prodi's government is not expected to take office until May.

(Xinhua News Agency April 20, 2006)

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