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First Day of Voting Ends in Italy


The first day of voting in Italy's general elections has ended after an angry campaign between incumbent Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and center-left leader Romano Prodi.

The last opinion poll taken two weeks ago gave Mr. Prodi a slight lead, with millions of voters still undecided.

First day voter turnout was 66 percent. Voting resumes Monday morning and first results are expected by the end of the day.

Mr. Berlusconi has been Italian prime minister for five years. He has promised to cut taxes, including eliminating the housing tax. He accuses Prodi's leftist-bloc of being communist dominated.

Mr. Prodi calls the proposal unworkable and has assailed Mr. Berlusconi's economic record.

The campaign was marked by two televised debates in which the candidates traded insults. Mr. Prodi compared Mr. Berlusconi to a drunk while the prime minister called his rival a "useful idiot."

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