When polling stations closed in the Italian general election on Monday (21 June) after nearly two days of voting, the Christian Democrats were given a slight edge over the Communist Party, as the first results came in.
GV: policemen outside polling station
SV: people walking into polling room
SV: ballot papers in polling station
SV: Italian Communist party headquarters (3 shots) with newsmen and officials
GV: Street scene - people waiting for television election prediction (3 shots)
CU: Television with prediction results, ZOOM OUT to room
There was a massive turnout for the election. According to election officials over 90 per cent of the electorate voted. And, despite warnings from Pope Paul, many Catholics voted Communist. The Pope had urged them to vote for the Vatican backed Christian Democrats. However, Reuters says that many Catholics quite clearly ignored the Pope. The worry now, says Reuters, is whether there is going to be a clear result. The Christian Democrats have rejected any chance of forming a government with the Communists. Instead, they say they would rather go into opposition. The Communists have rejected warnings by the United States on their possible entry into government. They have said they will continue supporting the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and believe in western style democracy. One group that has not done well in the elections is the Stalion neo-Facist party, the M.S.I. According to early results, they have lost heavily in many areas, taking only 6.6 per cent of the vote compared with 9.2 in the last election. The social Democrats, who support the Communists suffered a slight drop to stand at 10.2 per cent.
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Background: When polling stations closed in the Italian general election on Monday (21 June) after nearly two days of voting, the Christian Democrats were given a slight edge over the Communist Party, as the first results came in. However, there was no clear indication that any one political grouping will emerge with an overall majority-although the communists have done well.
SYNOPSIS: The early returns suggested that the Communists had increased their share of the vote by nearly eight per-cent over the last general election, polling 34 per cent of the total vote. Their rivals, the Christian Democrats, had 39.5 per cent a slight increase on their performance in the last election. Computer projections narrowed the gap, placing the Communists 1.5 per cent behind the Christian Democrats. Their leaders were quick to claim the election confirmed them as the largest political party. Meanwhile, the Communists reminded everyone the final results wouldn't be officially known until late on Tuesday. And - some projections gave the combined left-wing parties 47 per cent of the vote - within striking distance of the overall majority they need to form a "popular" government.
However, the apparent closeness of the vote between the Communists and Christian Democrats, may also signal more problems for Italy. Commentators have been calling the elections the most crucial for Italians since 1943. It's been claimed the Communists are within reach of joining the government-and the United States has warned of the consequences for western defence if they do. Most Italians welcomed the election as a move towards stable government - Italy has had over 30 since the Second World War. But if no clear majority emerges, many fear Italy will once more plunge into political uncertainty and the economy will take another dive. Meanwhile, the Communists have declared that whatever the outcome, there can never be a return to the style of previous Christian Democratic administrations.