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Prodi claims Italian election win -

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(generated from captions) In Italy, Romano Prodi is claiming victory over the incumbent Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, with six seats still to be counted. Prodi's centre-left coalition has the narrowest of leads in one of Italy's closest elections since the second World War. Europe correspondent Jane Hutcheon reports.

The result hasn't officially been

announced, but the headlines

declaring a divided country summed

up what had been a bit

up what had been a bitter contest.

A short time ago, the man described

as the Professor, Romano Prodi,

claimed victory. "There's a

majority in both the Chamber of

Deputies and in the Senate," he

said, " so there is no problem with

either legitimacy or strength.

either legitimacy or strength. " Earlier, he thanked supporters.

They'd been derided as coglioni by

Mr Berlusconi. Literally,

testicles. In victory, they

mockingly chanted the label right

back to him. In reality, Mr

Berlusconi still leads by one seat

in the Upper House. But there are

six seats where the votes of ex-pat

yots, including Australians, are

still to be counted. It's the first

time that Italians abroad can vote

so we don't know how they will vote.

You could imagine that because

You could imagine that because they have been given this possibility by

the Berlusconi Government that they

would favour Berlusconi, but I'm

would favour Berlusconi, but I'm not so sure about it. The flamboyant

billionaire dominates Italian

television and supported the war in

Iraq. During the election he

likened himself to Jesus and allied

his opponent to Stalin and Pol Pot.

But he still commands great support.

He is a big man, because he has

really grit and intelligence to

govern this country. Berlusconi is

for the people. Mr Prodi was

described as mortadella by the PM,

but he said he liked the comparison

to the sausage, which was tasty and

had been enjoyed by the working

classes for decades. Mr Prodi was

PM for two years during the '90s

PM for two years during the '90s and a former EU president. He opposed

the war in Iraq and has pledged to

kickstart Italy's zero growth

economy. But today's result won't

make his new job easy. I think it

will be very difficult to govern

with the election result with what

is happening at the Senate. I

is happening at the Senate. I think it looks like what happened in '94

when there was a draw at the Senate

and Berlusconi tried to govern for

some time, but his government, his

first government lasted less than a

year. Silvio Berlusconi hasn't

emerged from his prime ministerial

villa since counting began. He

faces corruption allegations for

faces corruption allegations for his business dealings, and after five

years in power, it appears he