13 April 2006 Edition

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International news in brief

Italy

In Italy it appears that the coalition led by right-wing media mogul Silvio Berlusconi has lost to centre-left coalition led by Romano Prodi, following a controversial election, during which insults were exchanged in front of television cameras.

However, Italy is in a state of political confusion as the margin is razor thin - just 49.8% against 49.7% for the ruling centre-right in the lower house. An official projection shows a slim majority in the Senate - the upper house - for Prodi's bloc.

Berlusconi's coalition is disputing the results and refusing to concede defeat.

Peru

In Peru, election results clearly show nationalist ex-army officer, Ollanta Humala, taking a lead in elections but he may be set for a run-off. Humala┬┤s candidacy has been supported by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Peruvians were also electing two vice-presidents and 120 members of Congress. Results suggest no party will have a clear majority in Congress.

Humala won the election five points ahead of his nearest rival, centre-left former President Alan Garcia. However, Garcia's place in the second round is not yet confirmed, as he is less than one point ahead of conservative candidate Lourdes Flores, represented by the party of current Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo. Final results may not be known for days. A run-off is expected on the good performance of two left-leaning candidates seeming to confirm a recent left-wing trend in elections in Latin America.


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