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Berlusconi Refuses To Concede Defeat In Italian Election

Vote counters sorting ballots in a polling station in Genova, Italy (epa) April 11, 2006 -- The official vote count today gave the center-left coalition of Romano Prodi a victory in Italy's general election, but Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi refused to concede defeat.

Official returns released by the Interior Ministry showed Prodi's coalition had won a majority in both houses of parliament. The vote count -- which was extremely close -- must still be confirmed by Italy's highest court.

But Berlusconi disputed the results, alleging many irregularities in the vote count.

He also suggested the center-left and his own center-right bloc might work together to form a government of national unity.

Prodi dismissed Berlusconi suggestion of a left-right coalition.

His center-left bloc accused Berlusconi of seeking to subvert the election result.

(compiled from agency reports)