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Italian Opposition Holds Primary to Choose Berlusconi Challenger

Italy's center-left opposition is holding a nationwide primary Sunday to choose a candidate capable of unseating conservative Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in next year's election.

Seven candidates are running in the primary, but former Prime Minister Romano Prodi is widely expected to win the nomination.

Mr. Prodi beat Mr. Berlusconi in 1996 general elections. After two years he resigned as prime minister and later landed the European Union's top post as president of the European Commission.

Recent opinion polls show the center-left leading Mr. Berlusconi's center-right government in popularity ahead of general elections due in 2006.

Sunday's vote is Italy's first nationwide primary election.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.