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Speaker appointed to Italian lower house

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Speaker appointed to Italian lower house

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Italy’s centre-left coalition has overcome one major hurdle on its road to government but many challenges still lie ahead.

Fausto Bertinotti has been elected speaker of the lower house of parliamentbut only after a fourth vote was held in the chamber. Yesterday, 80 centre-left MPs failed to vote for Bertinotti, despite him being their bloc’s official candidate. Centre-left leader Romano Prodi now has to overcome a greater challenge in the upper house, or Senate, where he has a two seat majority. The debate descended into farce yesterday, with successive votes to appoint a speaker rejected because some Senators had written the centre-left candidate’s name incorrectly. The misspellings were thought to be coded messages from some politicians that their votes should not be taken for granted. There was further lengthy debate before a another vote in the Senate this morning. Prodi, who won a slim victory in the election earlier this month, faces further complication too. The Italian president names the prime minister but the current head of state is stepping down in May and will have to be replaced by parliament before a government can be appointed.