Remember in 2004 how any hint that the Junior Senator was going to win was trumpeted loud and proud. Well, history repeats itself.
1141:Shocker, AP was quick out of the blocks,
ROME (Reuters) - Center-left leader Romano Prodi looked on course to beat Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Italy's general election, exit polls showed on Monday, as voters punished the government for failing to revive the economy.1520: Mmmm. The BBC was starting to have second thoughts.
Prodi's alliance was set to win between 50 and 54 percent of the vote in both the lower and upper houses of parliament, giving it a working majority in the two chambers, a poll by the Nexus research institute said.
Berlusconi's center-right bloc was shown winning 45 to 49 percent of the vote according to the poll, broadcast by state television RAI after voting ended in the two-day election.
"This is a result of historic proportions," said Massimo D'Alema, a former prime minister who is president of the largest center-left party, the Democrats of the Left.
Italy's general election is turning into an extremely close race, with early results pointing to a slender lead for PM Silvio Berlusconi.Italy has overseas constituencies? Didn't WWII put an end to all that? Senators for life? What, they have West Virginia voters too?
Mr Berlusconi's centre-right coalition may narrowly retain control of both houses of parliament, according to projections from the Nexus pollsters.
Earlier, exit polls pointed to a narrow lead for his centre-left challenger, Romano Prodi.
Polling stations closed at 1500 (1300 GMT), after two days of voting.
The Nexus projections, carried on the state broadcaster Rai, gave Mr Berlusconi's forces 49.9% in the Chamber of Deputies (lower house), and Mr Prodi's bloc 49.6%.
For the Senate the projections gave Mr Berlusconi's bloc 158 seats and Mr Prodi's 151.
Another six Senate seats are for overseas constituencies, seven for life senators.
1710:: You can almost hear the plop-plop-fizz-fizz over at AP.
ROME - Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's longest-serving premier since World War II, was locked in a battle for power Monday with center-left challenger Romano Prodi as vote projections from parliamentary election returns swung dramatically back and forth.And look at the picture to go with it!
After a campaign dominated by economic issues, projections based on 98 percent of pollster Nexus' sampling of votes cast gave the flamboyant billionaire's center-right alliance 158 seats in the Senate compared to 151 for Prodi's coalition. But with a margin of error of 1-3 percentage points and six seats chosen by Italians voting abroad unaccounted for, the Senate majority was far from assured.
For the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, 89 percent of the voting sample gave Berlusconi's alliance 49.8 to 49.7 percent for Prodi's coalition. No seat breakdown was given.
The Economist just can't come to grips that the Right might keep power. It still has hope for Prodi, but knowing he is a weak sister - is already making excuses. Read the link, it is funny to read.
Italian politics will always be funny. The press makes it even more so.UPDATE:Read around. Looks like a 2000 like race, but closer with a split gov't and Constitutional issues. I do so love Democracy....Italian style.