ROME, April 28 (UPI) -- Italy's Prime Minister-elect Romano Prodi Friday failed his first parliamentary test when his candidate failed to win enough votes in become senate speaker.
A victory was crucial for Prodi's center-left coalition to show it has a working majority in the Senate so as to be able to form the next government after scraping by with a wafer thin majority in the recent general elections.
Prodi's candidate Franco Marini garnered 157 votes, five short of the 162 absolute majority required in the 322-seat Senate, reported ANSA news agency.
Giulio Andreotti, the 87-year-old former premier proposed by the opposition led by outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, received 140 votes.
A second ballot has been scheduled.
Prodi's Union coalition has a majority of only two seats in the Senate. If Andreotti were to win eventually, it might become difficult for Prodi to stay in power. Some analysts feel it may even lead to new elections.