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Prodi faces popularity test in local elections

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Prodi faces popularity test in local elections


In Italy, the opposition to Romano Prodi’s fragile centre-left coalition is trying to turn local elections into a vote of confidence.

On initial predictions Prodi certainly appears to be losing ground to his arch-rival, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The northern city of Verona, a fiefdom of Prodi’s centre-left before, might now be confirmed as opposition-ruled.

The fate of Genoa is not sealed, but Berlusconi has predicted that if he could seize it from Prodi the Prime Minister would be forced to resign.

Prodi has some consolation in the form of Taranto and L’Aquila being called for his camp.

This is the first major litmus test for Prodi after a year in office.

Confirmed results for 856 communes and seven provinces are expected later this evening, although where there is no outright winner there may have to be a run-off.

Prodi’s coalition lost local elections in Sicily earlier this month but he attempted to shrug it off.

Berlusconi says he will press the President for a general election if the ruling party is deemed beaten.

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