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Berlusconi's Party Faces Run-Off Vote

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TEHRAN, May 17 (ICANA) – Embattled Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi becomes the main loser after his People of Freedom party trailed in local elections with 41.6 percent.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 8:59:00 PM
Berlusconi's Party Faces Run-Off Vote

In a big surprise, incumbent mayor and a former minister in the Berlusconi administration, Letizia Moratti lost to her rival Giuliano Pisapia in the race to control the Italian Prime Minister's hometown of Milan.

The two will face a runoff on May 30, AFP reported on Tuesday.

Pisapia won 48.1 percent of the vote for the Milan mayoralty, whereas Moratti secured 41.6 percent.

Berlusconi had campaigned on behalf of Moratti in his stronghold, Milan, and any loss in the upcoming run-off would be devastating for him.

The centre-left holds on to the traditionally "red" cities of Bologna -- where Virginio Merola won with 50.5 percent -- and Turin, won by Piero Fassino with 56.7 percent.

The voting was regarded as a test for Berlusconi's credibility following recent scandals that forced him to stand trial in Milan courts.

Berlusconi has been charged with paying an underage prostitute and later using his power to release her from theft allegations.

He has had an extensive history of criminal allegations, including mafia involvement, corruption, and bribery of police officers, lawyers, and judges.

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