The centre-left bloc led by Romano Prodi has claimed victory in the Italian elections. The centre-right of Silvio Berlusconi has contested those claims and asked for the vote count to be checked carefully. The Italian interior ministry has provisional figures giving Prodi’s alliance the lead.
“Right up to the last minute we’ve been on a razor edge, as you’ve seen,” Prodi told supporters. “But at the end victory has come.” Prodi’s claim of victory follows a rollercoaster night in Rome, with both sides claiming they had the edge, and some speculation there would be a hung parliament. Italy’s proportional representation system means that Prodi’s wafer-thin lead in percentage terms hands him a 340 seat majority in the lower house of parliament. Despite Berlusconi having the edge in the upper house, Prodi claims the centre-left will take four of the six seats yet to be attributed. They represent Italians living abroad.