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Italians vote in partial local election PDF Print E-mail
Mar 28, 2010 at 09:07 PM
Italians in 13 of Italy's 20 regions as well as in four provinces and 462 cities (including nine important ones) began going to the polls this morning in a two-day election that pits representatives and allies of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's against opposition candidates. The results, which will be available late Monday evening, will not have any immediate impact on the national government but will give an indication of trends in at least part of the country.

Statistics regarding turnout as of seven p.m. today suggest that there may be an increase in abstentionism, although nothing like what occurred in French local elections earlier this month. Normally, close to 80 percent of Italians vote in national elections (compared to only between 55 and 60% in the US) and around 70% for regional and local elections. As of this evening, only 35% of those eligible to vote had done so, compared to 42% at the same time during the April 2005 regional elections.

Pundits agree that this has probably been the most unpleasant and vulgar election campaign in recent memory. Berlusconi dedicated most of his words to insulting the opposition and accusing left-wing magistrates of attempting to discredit him. (In effect, only two weeks ago newspapers published wiretaps of authorized by magistrates in Puglia in the Italian south that showed the prime minister had tried to browbeat state TV executives into barring political talk shows conducted by vociferous anti-Berlusconi candidates although ti was unclear how this fell under their jurisdiction nor exactly what crime was involved).

The left on the other hand, especially the far left, continued it's hate campaign against Berlusconi who is accused by them of being an out and out criminal as well as ineffective prime minister

Predictions regarding the outcome of the elections vary significantly so I suggest waiting for tomorrow rather than doing any more useless speculation.

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