Prodi appointed Italian premier

May 16, 2006 at 3:55 PM
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ROME, May 16 (UPI) -- Italian President Giorgio Napolitano Tuesday appointed Romano Prodi premier amid charges of election fraud from outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The appointment comes five weeks after Prodi won a narrow victory over Berlusconi. Prodi pledged for form a "solid" government, ANSA reported.

At a farewell news conference, Berlusconi said the election results would be re-examined.

"There are lots of irregularities," he charged. Prodi's victory was the narrowest in Italian post-war history, ANSA said.

Prodi has put together a nine-party coalition, which critics say is too disparate to govern. The alliance includes communists, anti-clerics and staunch Roman Catholics, ANSA said.

Prodi, 66, was first appointed prime minister in 1996 but his government failed in 1998 amid intra-coalition squabbling.

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