Given the right-wing stranglehold on global power right now, Silvio Berlusconi's refusal to concede defeat presents a dangerous precedent. The BBC explains why he is hanging on:
Until the two chambers meet on 28 April, the arithmetic of who actually controls the Senate may not become clear.
So Mr Berlusconi is lying low and biding his time for the moment.
Mr Prodi can keep on claiming his right to govern the country but cannot hope to form a new government for at least a month.
The reason is that the first business of the new parliament will be to elect a new head of state.