Italy votes in center-left primary amid recession
Rome: Italians voted on Sunday in a primary for a center-left candidate to run in spring general elections that will in large part determine how Italy`s tries to fix its troubled finances and emerge from a grinding recession.
If none of the five candidates wins a majority, a runoff will be held next Sunday.
The race is expected to come down to a faceoff between Pier Luigi Bersani, the 61-year-old leader of the main center-left Democratic Party, and challenger Matteo Renzi, the 37-year-old mayor of Florence.
While the candidates have been gamely campaigning and debating one another ahead of the primary, today`s vote has largely been overshadowed by speculation about the political ambitions of Italy`s current premier, Mario Monti, and whether ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi will run for office for a fourth term.
Berlusconi again threw a wrench in the primary plans of his center-right People of Freedom party by hinting yesterday that he was "thinking" about returning to politics. Berlusconi has flip-flopped several times on the question in recent weeks, complicating efforts by his party secretary, Angelino Alfano, to rally support behind a party that has been tainted by a series of political finance scandals in recent months.
"If Berlusconi really does return to the field as he has said, I have to ask myself what`s the point of having a primary, which only has sense if he doesn`t run," Italian news reports quoted Alfano as saying yesterday. "Otherwise we have to rethink everything."
Berlusconi resigned as premier last year amid personal sex scandals and legal woes, unable to convince international markets that he could balance Italy`s budget and pass necessary financial reforms to save Italy from a Greek-style debt crisis.
Italy`s president tapped Monti, a respected economist and former European commissioner, to head a government of technocrats to guide Italy until general elections.
Monti`s government has imposed a painful austerity programme and pushed through structural reforms that together have succeeded in bringing down Italy`s borrowing costs.
While ordinary Italians have chafed at the reforms, the positive market reaction to Monti`s stewardship has fuelled support for a second term, particularly among centrist politicians and some of Italy`s business elite.
Monti has ruled out running for premier but has left the door open for a second term if no party wins a clear majority and he is tapped to head another government.
President Giorgio Napolitano made clear last week that Monti couldn`t run for office heading a party ticket, since he`s currently a senator-for-life.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- IAF Mirage fighter plane lands on Yamuna Expressway!
- Kejriwal accuses Centre of trying to rule Delhi through LG
- 'Maggi' under regulatory scanner for excess amount of lead, MSG
- Watch: Michelle Obama's 'Gimme Five' fitness video
- When Subramanian Swamy shocked people at a wedding!
- Expect that Rahul will be Congress president in 2015: Jairam Ramesh
- Mumbaikars join hands to save Pakistani teen with rare illness
- DNA: Analysis of Hurriyat chief Syed Geelani's passport issue
- DNA: Analysis of traffic system of Vancouver, Canada
- Mumbai: Diamond export company denies job to Muslim youth
- Aapke Sitare: Astro prediction for May 21, 2015
- Mirage 2000 fighter jet landing was part of capability demonstration: IAF
- DNA: IAF Mirage 2000 fighter plane lands successfully on Yamuna expressway
- DNA: Osama documents show 'Indian brother in Madinah' financed al Qaeda
- Amethi: Rahul Gandhi faces protests from angry villagers
- RBSE (rajresults.nic.in) Class 12th science and commerce results 2015: Rajasthan Board Class 12th XII exam results 2015 expected to be announced on May 21
- RBSE (rajresults.nic.in) Class 12th science and commerce results 2015: Rajasthan Board Class 12th XII exam results 2015 to be announced today at 4 PM
- JAC 12th Inter Arts Result 2015: JAC 12th Inter Arts Result 2015 (jharkhandeducation.net) likely to be announced on Thursday May 21 at 1 PM
- CBSE Class 10 Results 2015 to be announced today?
- IAF jet lands on Yamuna expressway
- Check Jharkhand Board jac.nic.in: Class 12th Art Results 2015 declared
- Andhra Pradesh EAMCET results 2015: Andhra Pradesh EAMCET results to be announced on May 21 at www.apeamcet.org
- Log on to apeamcet.org AP EAMCET Results 2015: Andhra Pradesh EAMCET Marks and AP EAMCET Ranks 2015 declared
- Fawad Khan doesn’t want intimate scenes with Sonam Kapoor?
- We hire only non-Muslim candidates, diamond export firm tells Muslim youth
- IPL 2015: Rajasthan Royals vs Royal Challengers Bangalore - As it happened...
- DHSE (dhsekerala.gov.in) 12th Result 2015: Kerala DHSE Class 12th XII exam results 2015 to be announced on May 21
- Is MSG in 'Maggi' noodles harmful for you?
- SSLC (tnresults.nic.in) Tenth 10th Results 2015: Tamil Nadu Board Class 10th X Higher Secondary exam results 2015 to be declared on May 21
- 'IAS officer DK Ravi possibly committed suicide, suffered big loss in real estate business'