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Italy appeals court certifies final Prodi victory over Berlusconi in tight Senate race

[JURIST] An Italian appeals court on Saturday certified the final Senate votes in Italy’s disputed April 9-10 election [JURIST report; BBC Q&A], confirming a narrow two-seat majority for Romano Prodi [campaign website, in Italian] in the upper house [official website] of the Italian parliament. The widely expected certification of votes cast by Italians living overseas confirms the outcome [JURIST report] of the election announced Wednesday by the Court of Cassation [official website]. Enfranchised by a new law, Italians abroad chose six Senate seats, giving four to Prodi’s coalition, one to current Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [official profile; JURIST news archive] and his allies, and one to an independent party. Prior to the distribution of the last six Senate seats, Berlusconi’s coalition led a center-right block with 155 Senate seats, while Prodi’s center-left coalition maintained 154 Senate seats. The overseas electors gave Prodi a two-seat victory. The actual certification of votes was made by an electoral board considered part of Rome's regional court of appeals [official website].

Berlusconi still refuses to concede defeat [BBC report], saying there were polling irregularities. Berlusconi’s regime has been marked by scandal, with an indictment for corruption [JURIST report] leveled against him last month and charges of false accounting [JURIST report] and bribery [JURIST report] last year in connection with the media business that Berlusconi’s family owns. AP has more.

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