Italy's Parliamentary Election, 2006
Silvio Berlusconi (incumbent) vs. Romano Prodi
Italy's parliamentary elections of April 2006, in which the center-right incumbent, Silvio Berlusconi, faced off against center-left challenger Romano Prodi seemed to end in an upset. Preliminary results suggested that Prodi led Berlusconi in seats in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. In control of both chambers, Prodi declared victory. But Berlusconi refused to concede and demanded a re-examination of 82,850 contested ballots.
In addition to a recount, he called for a coalition government similar to Germany's Grand Coalition, an idea Prodi rejected. Days after the call for a recount, the ministry announced that the initial number of contested ballots was miscalculated in "a material error," and that they would be counting only 5,266 a number too small to overtake Prodi's lead.
The ruling was eventually sent to Italy's supreme court, the Corte di Cassazione, on April 19, and the court ruled in Prodi's favor. But Berlusconi was far from done fighting. He began calling for Parliament to elect him President, and threatened that if his party was forced into opposition they would block any new initiatives, gridlocking the government and ensuring a short term of office for the new Prime Minister. Prodi lasted just two years, and Berlusconi's right-wing coalition returned him to power in April 2008 elections.
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