Despite substantial gains by the Communists in the Italian elections, the ruling Christian Democrats have emerged once more the country's leading party.
SV Berlinguer speaking to supporters from balcony
CU Party poster ZOOM OUT TO GV people listening to results in hall (2 shots)
SV EXT People reading results in newspapers
The Italians voted in their first general election in 1948, after the formation of the Republic. That election resulted in the replacement of a post-war grand coalition by a Christian Democrat-dominated administration. It began the party's long period of power which the Communists had hoped to end in these latest elections.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Despite substantial gains by the Communists in the Italian elections, the ruling Christian Democrats have emerged once more the country's leading party. Although final results are not in, it's known that the Christian Democrats remained the largest single part in both houses of Parliament.
SYNOPSIS: At Communist headquarters in Rome on Monday (21 June) -- shortly after the polls had closed -- huge crowds gathered to cheer their party's gains. Communist party secretary, Enrico Berlinguer said he was heartened by the large swing of votes to the left. Loudspeakers and television sets blared out the results to the excited crowd. Traffic was diverted away from the area as the crowd grew to several hundred.
Throughout Rome, keen election watchers slept in the streets outside party headquarters waiting for results. The Communist Party, faced with an unprecedented invasion of foreign newsmen, eventually had to seal off its offices to all but its own staff. Mr. Berlinguer said that the results, so far, meant that the era of governments based on the exclusion of the left, should be over.