Berlusconi wins third term as Italian PM
UPDATE 745 PST, April 14, 2008:
Berlusconi has now won, by what AFP calls an "unexpectedly wide margin."
After the first projection in Italy's general elections, it looks like Silvio Berlusconi will be heading in to his third term in office. He has a clear lead in voting for the Senate, which the Prime Minister must have control of in order to govern.
The gap between Centre Right and Centre Left is wider than suggested by initial exit polls, according to the first official projections. Mr Berlusconi's "People of Liberty" alliance plus the Northern League have 43.7 per cent in the Senate to 39.1 per cent for Walter Veltroni's recently formed Democratic Party, a fusion of liberals and former Communists.
The 71-year-old media tycoon is seeking his third term as Prime Minister of Italy after an election campaign strewn with his customary gaffes.
Earlier, exit polls suggested that Mr Berlusconi's “People of Liberty” alliance plus the Northern League have a narrow lead, with between 38.5 percent and 45.5 per cent, while Walter Veltroni's recently formed Democratic Party — a fusion of liberals and former Communists — between 37 per cent and 43 per cent.
Commentators said it appeared that Mr Berlusconi had won control of the Lower House but might have too narrow a lead in the Senate to govern — the same situation in which Romano Prodi found himself before his government fell in January after 20 months.