Feature

Berlusconi loses sorely

The week's news at a glance.

Rome

The center-right coalition led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi lost Italy’s parliamentary elections this week by a hairsbreadth. The center-left bloc led by Romano Prodi claimed victory in the lower house by one-tenth of a percentage point—49.8 percent to 49.7 percent—the narrowest margin in Italian history. The tiny margin still translates into a decent majority, because under Italian law, whoever wins the election gets 55 percent of the seats regardless of the scale of victory. Berlusconi won’t go quietly, though. He’s demanding a recount. “The margin is under 25,000 votes,” said Paolo Bonaiuti, Berlusconi’s spokesman. “Such a tiny difference requires a scrupulous checking of the counting.”

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