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Christian Democrats slip in Italian Parliament vote

Italy's Christian Democrats lost support to the advantage of the Communist Party in the general elections, according to first returns. The count of votes for Parliament's lower house showed the Christian Democrats winning 33.6 percent, down from 38.3 percent in the last general elections in 1979. The Communist vote stood at 32 percent, up from 30.4 percent. The figures came as a surprise, because the Christian Democrats had been expected to easily retain their dominant position.