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Italian Communists elect ex-teacher as party head

Alessandro Natta, a former high school teacher, was elected Tuesday to succeed the late Enrico Berlinguer as head of Italy's Communist Party, the party announced. An official statement said the vote was 227 to 0, with 11 abstentions.

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Mr. Natta is known as one of the key collaborators of Mr. Berlinguer, who passed on June 11.

Natta has been a party worker since 1945 and is now a member of the Central Committee. He also holds the key post as head of the party's control commission.

The Italian Communist Party, with 1.7 million members, is the largest in Western Europe.

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