Two exit polls indicated today that challenger Romano Prodi`s centre-left coalition was set to beat Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi`s forces in parliamentary elections.
Two Nexus polls indicated that Romano Prodi`s coalition received between 50 and 54 percent of the vote in both the upper and lower chambers of parliament, while Silvio Berlusconi`s coalition received between 45 and 49 percent. Those surveys would give Prodi`s coalition between 159 and 170 seats in the Senate, compared with between 139 and 150 for Berlusconi`s center-right alliance.
Berlusconi was battling to capture his third premiership with a center-right bloc – an often squabbling coalition of his Forza Italia party, the former neo-fascist National Alliance, pro-Vatican forces and the anti-immigrant Northern League.
Senator Paolo Guzzanti of Berlusconi`s Forza Italia party told AFP: “Our coalition has lost the elections.”
Preliminary results showed a sharp drop in support for Berlusconi`s Forza Italia party, from 29.4 per cent in 2001 to today`s 20-23 per cent, and a strong showing by Prodi`s Ulivo alliance, whose support was estimated at around 30 per cent in the lower Chamber of Deputies.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi refused to concede defeat in Italy`s general election, saying there were numerous irregularities surrounding the vote-count that needed checking.
“We will not hesitate to recognise the political victory of our adversaries, but only after the votes have been legally checked,” Berlusconi said in his first public comment on the election.
Source of information: Elections in Italy