Twenty eight hours after the counting began, the results are in – Romano Prodi’s centre-left bloc has won Italy’s general election. But it could not be any closer, and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has refused to concede defeat. Prodi’s Union alliance has narrowly taken the lower house of parliament and has a majority of just two seats in the upper house, the Senate.
He told his supporters: “This majority will bring some calm to the country. And we will remain faithful to the choice of our loyal voters.” Prodi’s margin in the lower house is so tiny – around 25,000 out of 47 million eligible voters – that there is speculation there may end up being a recount. Political analysts say that even with majorities in both houses, Prodi is likely to struggle as they may be too small to give him enough clout to push through unpopular reforms.