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Italian President Asks PM Berlusconi to Form New Government

Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi has asked Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to form a new government.

The two men met Friday, two days after Mr. Berlusconi presented his resignation when his center-right ruling coalition began to fall apart following crushing defeats in regional government elections.

Mr. Berlusconi met with President Ciampi just hours after he reached agreement with his coalition partners on the makeup of the new cabinet. The Italian leader told reporters he hopes to win parliamentary approval for his cabinet early next week.

Mr. Berlusconi's previous cabinet had been the country's longest-serving government since World War II.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.