2006 Italian general election

The 2006 Italian general election for the two Chambers of the Italian Parliament was held on 9 and 10 April 2006. Romano Prodi, leader of the centre-left coalition The Union, narrowly defeated the incumbent Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the centre-right coalition House of Freedoms.

2006 Italian general election

 2001 9–10 April 2006 2008 

All 630 seats in the Chamber of Deputies
315 seats in the Senate
Opinion polls
Leader Romano Prodi Silvio Berlusconi
Alliance The Union House of Freedoms
Leader since 13 September 2004 18 January 1994
Leader's seat Emilia-Romagna (C) Campania 1 (C)
Seats won 348 C / 158 S 281 C / 156 S
Seat change 109 C / 22 S 107 C / 20 S
Coalition vote 19,036,986 C
16,725,401 S
18,995,697 C
17,153,978 S
Percentage 49.8% (C)
49.0% (S)
49.7% (C)
50.2% (S)

Election results maps for the Chamber of Deputies (on the left) and for the Senate (on the right). Red denotes provinces and regions with a Union plurality, Blue denotes those with a House of Freedom plurality.

Prime Minister before election

Silvio Berlusconi
Forza Italia

Appointed Prime Minister

Romano Prodi
The Olive Tree

Initial exit polls suggested a victory for Prodi, but the results narrowed as the count progressed. On 11 April 2006, Prodi declared victory;[2] Berlusconi never conceded defeat explicitly but this is not required by the Italian law.

Preliminary results showed The Union leading the House of Freedoms in the Chamber of Deputies, with 340 seats to 277, thanks to obtaining a majority bonus (actual votes were distributed 49.81% to 49.74%). One more seat is allied with The Union (Aosta Valley) and 7 more seats in the foreign constituency. The House of Freedoms had secured a slight majority of Senate seats elected within Italy (155 seats to 154), but The Union won 4 of the 6 seats allocated to voters outside Italy, giving them control of both chambers.[3]

On 19 April 2006, Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation ruled that Prodi had indeed won the election, winning control of the Chamber of Deputies by only 24,755 votes out of more than 38 million votes cast, and winning 158 seats in the Senate to 156 for Berlusconi's coalition. Even so, Berlusconi refused to concede defeat, claiming unproven fraud.

Recent developments, including publishing of a controversial documentary film about alleged frauds in the ballot counting during the election, brought in December 2006 the Electoral Committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies to request for a recount of all ballot papers, starting from a 10% sample.[citation needed]