Romano Prodi has celebrated his victory in the Italian election with a party in his home town of Bologna. The event took place despite ongoing controversy over the outcome of the vote.
Prodi’s centre-left coalition won the election with the smallest of electoral majorities in both the upper and lower house. The tight margins have left many Italians wondering how long the government will last, and whether Prodi will have enough clout to push through tough reforms. But he himself remains upbeat. “Its been a hard fight, but we won in the end and its time for Berlusconi to stop wasting time and go home,” he told cheering supporters. However, weeks of political limbo could lie ahead. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is refusing to admit defeat and is demanding a recount: “We need to check the voting registers from 60 thousand bureaux, but it seems there has been widespread fraud,” he alleged. Italy will have to wait at least another month for its new administration.President Carlo Ciampi is due to step down then, and has made it clear he wants his successor to be named by the parliament and in place before a new government is sworn in. A review of the election results is expected to be completed by next Friday.