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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2006, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
In pictures: Italian election

Romano Prodi waves an Italian flag

Italy's centre-left coalition leader Romano Prodi has claimed a narrow victory in the country's general election.

Journalists watch election results on a big screen

The ruling centre-right coalition, however, is disputing the results, saying they are too close to call.

Prodi supporters

Initial exit polls suggested that Mr Prodi had secured a clear win, but as the night progressed, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi closed the gap.

Silvio Berlusconi is obscured by a window in the back of a car

As the uncertainty has continued, so Mr Berlusconi has shied away from the media.

Election officials begin counting the votes.

Ballot counting began shortly after polls closed on Monday, after two days of voting.

Romano Prodi with wife Flavia and granddaughter Chiara

During the poll, Mr Prodi was joined by his wife and granddaughter after casting his ballot in Bologna.

Silvio Berlusconi and his mother Rosa

Mr Berlusconi was chided by election officials for helping his 95-year-old mother vote for his Forza Italia party.

Election poster

Correspondents say voters found the choice difficult, and that the election was more of a referendum on Mr Berlusconi's leadership.





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