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Renato Schifani elected speaker of Italian Senate
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08:58, April 30, 2008

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Renato Schifani, a member of Prime Minister-elect Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, has been elected as the speaker of Senate, according to Italian News Agency ANSA.

Schifani, 57, received 178 votes in favor, more than the 162 needed, while Gianfrano Fini, head of the right-wing National Alliance, is slated to chair the Lower House.

Before last month's elections, the Forza Italia party and the National Alliance joined together to create the People of Freedom, a new center-right party that will hold its constituent assembly later this year.

Following the May Day weekend holiday break, probably May 5, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano will ask Berlusconi to form anew government.

Speaking on the sidelines of the opening session of the Lower House, Berlusconi said he expected his new executive team would be sworn-in on May 9 or May 10.

After electing their respective speakers, the Senate and Lower House will proceed to set up their committees and commissions and elect their chairpersons.


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