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Bush Congratulates Prodi on Italian Election Victory


President Bush has congratulated Italian center-left leader Romano Prodi on his victory over Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in last week's parliamentary elections.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Mr. Bush telephoned Mr. Prodi on Friday, nearly a week after British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac placed similar calls.

McClellan attributed the delay in Mr. Bush's congratulations to the dispute over the election results.

Italy's Supreme Court confirmed Mr. Prodi's narrow victory on Wednesday, but his opponent has steadfastly refused to concede the contest.

Mr. Berlusconi told supporters Friday that he has no plans to call Mr. Prodi and promised to lead opposition efforts against him.

Mr. Prodi is attempting to form a new government from a broad alliance that includes communists and Roman Catholic moderates.

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