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Prodi Ponders Future Italian Government Following Bitter Election


More than a week after general elections in Italy, a winner has still not been confirmed. But the leader of the center-left coalition, Romano Prodi, says he is already working on Italy's future government.

It is Easter Monday and there will be no confirmation of official results in the Italian general elections today. Italians still do not know who has won. What they do know is that bickering between the left and right coalitions continues.

After a bitter election campaign, unconfirmed results showed it was the closest election campaign in Italy since World War II. Preliminary figures showed a knife-edge victory for the opposition leader of the center-left coalition, Romano Prodi.

But Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has refused to concede defeat and has made no comments over the Easter holiday weekend. A former minister in his center-right coalition Roberto Calderoli insisted his camp won by some 20,000 votes.

He said the votes of one party that had been counted for the center-left are not valid.

The law says a party must be national and a party must run in at least two districts for the votes to be valid. But the Lombard Autonomist League only ran in one district.

Prodi dismissed the former minister's claim saying it was nothing but an invention. He said the time has come to leave these things aside and begin to work for the country.

Prodi remains confidant and says: "The longer the torment, the sweeter the victory."

But the existing divisions and uncertain political situation is a serious concern. The pope highlighted the problem in his greetings in Italian following his Easter Sunday address.

Pope Benedict XVI said that, in the particular moment that Italy has been going through in recent months, "may the Lord bring serenity to the national community and strengthen in those who serve it the strong desire to pursue common aims and genuine development for the good of all."

Meanwhile, the man who expects to become Italy's next prime minister, Romano Prodi, says he is already working on Italy's future government. He has said his priority will be getting Italy's public finances under control.

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