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Italy Voting Starts In Australia

  • February 6th, 2013
  • Posted by EUEditor

australia-flag-map.jpgitaly-map-flag.jpg Voting is getting under way early in this month’s Italian elections (24-25.2.13), at the opposite end of the Earth.

Expatriate Italians vote in large overseas constituencies, and among the biggest is the zone  designated Asia-Australia-Antarctica, taking in 117000 Italians who are registered in Australia.

In previous polls the far-flung electorates have been significant for forming a majority, with in Australia at that time, support going to the centre-left.

The poll in Italy itself is being contested by the incumbent “technocrat” Prime Minister, the independent Mario Monti, who has formed a centre-right grouping around himself; the centre-left Democratic party, led by Pier Luigi Bersani; and the often-disgraced, often-forgiven former Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi on the right wing. Other contestants include greens and the cultural radical Five Star movement of Pepe Grillo.

Mr Monti is calling for continued public backing of, or acquiescence in his budget-balancing austerity program, against a tide of public anxiety about the high cost in income and jobs — so many professing that they cannot afford to go any further with it.

Mr Berlusconi, who ran up public debts while in office, and has his own problems with court cases (charged with fraud, amongst other things), has made up ground in the polls,  campaigning against the austerity measures, since leaving the Monti government last year.

Mr Bersani, after a struggle to get together his left coalition, and striving to sell a policy of a more moderated austerity, would hope to see the other two main contenders split the conservative vote to his advantage. He might equally fear losing votes to Mr Monti, and he has to contend with a financial scandal, at a bank part-owned by his party.

Mr Grillo, a popular political satirist, has a large social media following for his platform: anti-corruption, against environmental waste, and strongly for human rights.

See also EUAustralia Online, “New political excitement in Italy”, 9.12.12 .

Reference

Christopher Emsden, “What If Nobody Wins the Italian Elections?”, WSJ, NY, 5.2.13. http://blogs.wsj.com/eurocrisis/2013/02/05/what-if-nobody-wins-the-italian-elections/, (6.2.13).

Philip Pullella, “Media, opposition, lampoon Berlusconi over tax cut promise”, Reuters, London, 4.2.13. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/04/italy-vote-berlusconi-idUSL5N0B45AM20130204, (6.2.13).

Pictures  mapsof.net

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