ROME, April 28 (UPI) -- Outgoing Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi missed the opening of Italy's new parliament Friday, but his successor said he "hadn't noticed."
Berlusconi has persisted in challenging the thin victory for premier-elect Romano Prodi in Italy's recent election. It wasn't clear whether Berlusconi deliberately boycotted the ceremony, ANSA reported.
Prodi -- a former European Commission chief -- said he "hadn't noticed" that Berlusconi was missing.
Berlusconi's Forza Italia party was there -- and renewed its challenge of the election outcome -- repeating allegations about "irregularities."
The 630-seat House and the 315-seat Senate -- as well as seven life senators -- have as their first order of business to elect speakers.
Fausto Bertinotti of Communist Refoundation is regarded as a shoo-in for the House, where Prodi's centre-left Union has a comfortable majority, ANSA reported. The Union is not as strong in the Senate, where life Senator Giulio Andreotti entered the race for speaker at the last minute.
Most Berlusconi supporters are expected to support Andreotti, but Frodi's party reportedly believes it has enough votes to elect Catholic centrist and former trade union leader Franco Marini.
Voting began Friday, and results were expected to be known by Saturday.