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Italy's Berlusconi Expected to Resign Tuesday


Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is expected to resign Tuesday, starting the countdown for the formation of a new government by Prime Minister-designate Romano Prodi.

Sources in Rome say Mr. Berlusconi will end the country's post-election stalemate by handing in his resignation to Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi following Tuesday's cabinet meeting.

It remains unclear, however, when the Italian president will formally summon Mr. Prodi to form a new government.

He has said in the past he may leave the task up to his successor, who will be elected by parliament May 13. He has, however, been under pressure to move quickly to invite Mr. Prodi to form a government to avoid a political vacuum.

Meanwhile, Mr. Prodi says his cabinet team will be ready by Friday.

Mr. Prodi's coalition scored a razor-thin victory in the national elections. He is attempting to form a new government with a broad alliance that includes communists and Roman Catholic moderates.

Mr. Berlusconi had previously alleged fraud in the election and has refused to formally concede defeat. The dispute was taken to the Supreme Court, which confirmed Mr. Prodi's victory.

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