Italians are awaiting a final decision on whether their country is about to face what could be a bitterly divisive and violent general election campaign.
GV Government buildings (2 shots)
GV PAN FROM Newsmen TO government buildings
CU Sign "Via della Missione" ZOOM OUT TO GV entrance to meeting room
SV Zaccagnini entering room and talking with newsmen
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Background: Italians are awaiting a final decision on whether their country is about to face what could be a bitterly divisive and violent general election campaign.
On Thursday night (22 April), the Senate rushed through a law shortening the statutory election campaign period from 70 to 45 days, thus allowing for elections before the summer holiday season.
The executive of the ruling Christian Democrat Party met on Friday (23 April) to consider the results of last efforts by Party Secretary Benigno Zaccagnini to avert an election.
Signor Zaccagnini met for three hours on Thursday with Communist Party Secretary Enrico Berlinguer to discuss the situation.
The day before, he failed to reach a political compromise with the Socialists, the only party to have called openly for an election.
Opinion polls suggest that an election now could return a Communist-dominated left-wing majority to parliament, ending the Christian Democrats' 30-year tenure of power.
The Christian Democrat government is currently being sustained in parliament because of an abstentionist policy by the Socialists.