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Discontented Italian voters stay away
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Italìans started voting yesterday for their 62nd post-war government, but large numbers of people were reported to be undecided or expressing their discontent with the political classes by staying away from polling stations.
Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the opposition centre-right People of Freedom alliance had been ahead in the las permitted opinion polis two weeks ago, but yesterday one of his newspapers warned supporters of the danger of a "draw" with Walter Veltroni's centre-left Democratic party.

A front-page commentary in Italy's main newspaper, Corriere Della Sera, urged the two parties to work together after the elections to get Italy out of its political and economie crisis.

Mr Berlusconi, attempting to become prime minister for the third time with a campaign based on tax cuts, has ruled out a German-style grand coalition with opposing parties.

The IMF last week predicted the Italian economy, Europe's fourth biggest, would grow by only 0.3 per cent, slower than any other of the two dozen "advanced economies" included in the World Economie Outlook report. Italy is Europe's most-indebted country, and ranks last in labour productivity among the 30-member OECD.

The already complicated Italian voting system was made more confusing with different arrangements used on ballot sheets for locai and national elections.
After a second day of voting the polis will dose this afternoon.
Authorities, on the alert against vote rigging, pian to announce results tonight.
The next government may take several weeks to form.

Alitalia, the national flag carrier of which 49.9 per cent is owned by the state, risks going into bankruptcy. The outgoing centre-left government was reportedly warned by aviation authorities that the airline could go on only for a few weeks unless trade unions accepted a takeover by Air France-KLM.

Source >  Financial Times

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