Berlusconi Suffers New Defeat In Election

Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2004 12:35 pm
Home defeat for Berlusconi party
Italian voters have dealt a heavy blow to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in regional elections. His Forza Italia party lost its Milan power base only weeks after suffering poor results in European and the first round of the elections.

The left's candidate took nearly 54% of the vote, eight points ahead of Forza Italia's existing regional governor.

Other regions were also snatched by the left, as leaders hailed the outcome a "historic victory".

"It is the definitive proof of an irreversible fact - the fall of Silvio Berlusconi's personal popularity," said one key opposition figure, Francesco Rutelli.

"Berlusconi tried to turn the elections into a personal referendum and he lost, including in his own city," said Mr Rutelli, who heads the Daisy party.
The loss of Milan was being seen as a heavy symbolic blow to Mr Berlusconi; his Fininvest holding company is based in the city and he also owns Milan AC football club.

"Berlusconi has lost at home," said Piero Fassino, leader of the main opposition party, the Democrats of the Left.

Personal appearances by Mr Berlusconi in support of regional governor Ombretta Colli did not save her from defeat at the hands of left-wing challenger Filippo Penati.

Coalition tensions

Italian newspapers have predicted that internal tensions in Mr Berlusconi's right-wing coalition will worsen after the results.

Mr Berlusconi insisted that his government would stand.

"We have a five-year mandate and I intend to respect the programme," he said at the Nato summit in Istanbul.

But he hinted at a possible cabinet reshuffle to give more seats to his coalition partners.

His three coalition partners - the Northern League, the National Alliance and the centrist UDC party - have seen their own votes hold up at the polls.

European Commission President Romano Prodi, expected to return to Italian politics when he stands down from the job, joined other centre-left figures in celebrating the result.

"How can one not read the Milan victory as a political sign for the entire country?" Mr Prodi said.

Mr Rutelli has called on the left to unite under Mr Prodi, but analysts say his idea is not shared by all on the left.
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Reply Fri 2 Jul, 2004 03:41 am
He should resign. No more power for him.
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Reply Mon 5 Jul, 2004 11:17 am
Just looked at the overall provincial results.

Forza Italia and the center-right alliance did not defeat ANY incumbent center-left provincial government.

On the other hand, the center-left defeated the incumbent center-right in Biella, Novara, Verbano, Milan, Taranto, Chieti and L'Aquila.

Divisions in the Berlusconi alliance were most present at Sondio, where Lega Nord decided to run alone against the center-left coalition, and won.
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