Weary Italians Go to the Polls

Economic malaise awaits country's new PM
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2008 7:13 AM CDT
Walter Veltroni addresses a rally in Naples, Italy, Wednesday, April 9, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Polls are open in Italy's parliamentary election, which Silvio Berlusconi appears likely to win. Whether the two-time prime minister or Rome's mayor Walter Veltroni triumphs, the next Italian leader has to kickstart a stagnated economy; growth this year is expected to be as low as 0.3% —or even zero, writes the Daily Telegraph. Turnout has been low over the course of the two-day vote, and apathy and disgust with politics are rife.

One voter in Sorrento was arrested after shouting "Politics makes me sick!" at his polling place and then eating his ballot. Italians' views of their country's economic future are bleak, and chronic governmental instability—made worse by a crippling electoral law that necessitates huge, ungovernable coalitions—hasn't helped. That malaise showed in the latest polling; fully a third of voters remained undecided.