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Archive for Monday, April 10, 2006

Prime minister battles to remain in power

April 10, 2006

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— Voters had a chance Sunday to punish Premier Silvio Berlusconi and his conservatives for a flagging economy in elections that saw the flamboyant media mogul and U.S. ally trying to fend off an opposition bloc that includes Communists.

Berlusconi, Italy's richest man whose sprawling business empire includes Italy's main private TV networks, a soccer club, publishing and advertising, had been trailing slightly in opinion polls in the premier's race behind Romano Prodi, an economics professor and former European Union chief who defeated him in 1996 elections.

Publication of voter surveys was not permitted in the last 15 days before the two-day vote, which began Sunday.

On Sunday night, 66.5 percent of the 47 million eligible voters had cast ballots, the Interior Ministry said. Voting resumes this morning.

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