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Calls for Italian coalition are rejected by Prodi

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Calls for Italian coalition are rejected by Prodi

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Romano Prodi has rejected calls from his rival Silvio Berlusconi to form a grand coalition spanning Italy’s political spectrum. Prodi’s centre-left alliance has narrowly taken each house in the Parliament. But the electoral margin in both is tiny – 25,000 votes in the Lower House and only two seats in the Upper. Berlusconi is demanding a recount, and has suggested a system of shared government as a way forward. But despite his wafer-thin majority, Romano Prodi insisted he would have the authority to govern Italy for the next five years. Italy’s political future, however, remains uncertain.

With a tiny majority and a left-leaning coalition with differing agendas, Prodi might find it difficult to push through tough reforms. The country’s economy has been sluggish in recent years and there is substantial foreign debt to contend with.