Much of Italy is breathing a sigh of relief following the Supreme Court’s verdict ending nearly two weeks of election confusion. The press, while acknowledging centre-left leader Romano Prodi’s triumph is also underlining the problems ahead. Prodi’s wafer thin victory in the closest Italian election in modern history has thrown doubt on how long his government will last and has unsettled financial markets.
Despite the ruling Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is still refusing to concede defeat. He has said other aspects of the ballot need clarifying adding that flawed counting procedures and problems with overseas votes mean the result is invalid. Talk is rife in Italy over what will happen next: “Berlusconi will fight to change the result,” said one woman, “but the decision has been made.”
“I think it’s time for him to step aside,” said one man in Rome. Despite the speculation Prodi can now start work on forming a new government – but due to a constitutional snag he is unlikely to take office before the second half of May.