With Italy’s post-election wrangles continuing, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi has reportedly advised Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi not to issue a decree widening the scope of a recount.
Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition was defeated in the vote on April 9 and 10, according to Interior Ministry figures. After last night’s meeting with the head of state, Berlusconi said: “We need to check the voting registers from 60,000 bureaux, but it seems there have been widespread irregularities.” He also used the term “fraud” and that filled today’s newspaper headlines, but he now seems to have taken a step back. Yesterday centre-left leader Romano Prodi, who also met President Ciampi, celebrated victory in Bologna. “It’s useless for Berlusconi to seek excuses and delays, he should go home,” he told supporters. Prodi had wanted Ciampi to quickly name him prime minister but the president, whose term ends on May 18, believes it is the duty of his successor. Interior Ministry data said the centre left took the lower house of parliament by just 25,000 votes. Berlusconi earlier this week demanded a review of 43,000 disputed ballots not included in the final tally because of alleged errors over the way they were filled out. That check should be over by tomorrow, but Berlusconi says the review he has in mind would take “several days”.