ROME –Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative coalition won a majority in the Senate and appeared poised Monday to do the same in the lower house, sharpening the media mogul’s chances of again becoming premier of Italy.
More than 12 hours after the last vote was cast, Berlusconi’s opponent, Francesco Rutelli, a former Rome mayor who led a center-left ticket, conceded defeat.
“I acknowledge the result which represents a legitimate electoral victory,” Rutelli told supporters and reporters at a Rome hotel.
Berlusconi made no immediate comment, but his camp was sounding like winners as the day wore on and returns mounted in their favor.
According to nearly complete Interior Ministry results, Berlusconi’s coalition captured at least 163 seats in the Senate – the minimum for a majority – and Rutelli’s forces 106. Another 83 seats will be apportioned after all the returns are in, making it likely Berlusconi will enjoy a sizable majority in the upper chamber.