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Voters snub Berlusconi's new laws

Italians have dealt Premier Silvio Berlusconi a serious political blow, overturning laws passed by his government to revive nuclear energy, privatise the water supply and help him avoid prosecution.

Partial results in three referendums showed clear majorities to throw out the water privatisation law, kill a law reviving nuclear energy and undo legislation offering the Italian leader a partial legal shield in criminal prosecutions.

Voter turnout topped 57% - safely above the 51% needed to validate the vote. It is the first time since 1995 that a quorum has been reached.

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