ROME (Reuters) – Silvio Berlusconi’s resurgence and the rise of a foul-mouthed populist comedian have thrown Italy’s weekend election wide open, with deep uncertainty over whether the poll can produce the strong government the country needs.
Italy, the euro zone’s third biggest economy, is deep in its longest recession for 20 years. Successive governments have failed to revive an economy stagnant for two decades.
ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s politicians on Tuesday stepped up their campaigns in the last few days before next weekend’s election with the outcome deeply uncertain and up to a third of voters still up for grabs.
Opinion polls on party standings are banned in the last two weeks before the February 24-25 poll but one of Italy’s leading pollsters, Renato Mannheimer, said 27.7 percent of Italians were still undecided or could abstain.
ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s centre-left moved on Tuesday to quash fears that it will form a weak government after next weekend’s election, saying it was committed to rapid economic reform and that outgoing premier Mario Monti must have a frontline political role.
“We are fully aware that inertia is not an option. We have no time to waste. Italy’s problems are very serious and we cannot afford more recession or stagnation … we need to deliver in terms of jobs, income, simplification,” said Stefano Fassina, chief economic official in the centre-left Democratic Party.
ROME (Reuters) – Pope Benedict’s shock resignation has robbed Italians of the one element of certainty in a time of deep doubt, with the country beset by graft scandals and heading for an election that will not bring the radical change so many crave.
The pontiff has long been the one stable element for Roman Catholic Italians in a modern state that has become a byword for political instability and flawed politicians.
MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s center-right plans to obstruct the government expected to emerge from an election in less than two weeks time and block legislation, Northern League leader Roberto Maroni said on Wednesday.
The vow by Maroni, the closest electoral ally of former premier Silvio Berlusconi, could cause instability and government paralysis if the center-right wins enough votes to control the balance of power in the Senate after the Feb 24-25 vote, which is expected to be won by the center-left
ROME (Reuters) – The center-left is on course to win Italy’s election despite a remarkable surge by Silvio Berlusconi, but it is likely to have to form a governing coalition with outgoing premier Mario Monti, final polls before the Feb 24-25 vote showed on Friday.
Most polls published before a pre-vote blackout showed Pier Luigi Bersani’s center-left still five or more points ahead, despite a scandal over a Tuscan bank with which it has links and a continuing fight-back by former Prime Minister Berlusconi.
ROME (Reuters) – Sicilian prosecutor Antonio Ingroia has left his job fighting the mafia to stand in Italy’s election, saying politicians have totally failed to fight organized crime, corruption and tax evasion that are crippling the economy.
Ingroia, heading the most leftwing force in the campaign, says outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti is a bigger danger politically than center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi, who he believes has no chance of winning the February 24-25 poll.
ROME (Reuters) – Most Italians do not believe Silvio Berlusconi’s promises to cut taxes, despite a “shock proposal” to pay back a hated housing levy in a last lap attempt to win this month’s election, two new opinion polls showed.
One of the surveys, published by SWG pollsters on Tuesday, also indicated the center-left election frontrunners were making a slight recovery after previously losing support because of a banking scandal.
ROME (Reuters) – A growing scandal at Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world’s oldest bank, has helped Silvio Berlusconi close the gap with the center-left frontrunners to five percent, its tightest so far, weeks before Italy’s election, a poll showed on Friday.
An SWG survey showed former premier Berlusconi’s center-right coalition had gained 1.3 percent in a week and was now on 27.8 percent, compared to 32.8 percent for Pier Luigi Bersani’s center left, which had lost 1.6 percent.
ROME (Reuters) – Little more than a year ago Silvio Berlusconi was hounded out of office by a baying crowd and economics professor Mario Monti stepped in as prime minister, hailed as Italy’s savior.
Now Berlusconi has performed an astonishing comeback to return to the spotlight, exacting his political revenge while Monti is struggling badly to make a breakthrough in the campaign for a February 24-25 election.