In Italy, there was no sign of a clear winner in the country's latest general election after the polls closed on Monday (4 June).
In Italy, there was no sign of a clear winner in the country's latest general election after the polls closed on Monday (4 June). Computer forecasts indicated that the communists were losing ground for the first time since 1948, and that the Christian Democrats remained Italy's biggest party.
SYNOPSIS: The final turnout for the election, which took place over two days, was expected to be about ninety percent. Voting is not compulsory in Italy, but anyone failing to cast a vote can be required to provide an explanation to officials. One survey showed that support for the Communist Party had diminished since last year, when Red Brigades guerrillas kidnapped and murdered the former Christian Democrat Prime Minister, Aldo Moro. During the first day of voting, there was none of the unrest which had been feared. A hundred thousand troops had been called out to guard polling stations. The leader of the Communist Party, Enrico Berlinguer, faced, as a consequence of terrorist violence, the first real setback for his party since the last war.
Forecasts indicated that the Communists were losing between two point nine and four point nine of the votes it won in the last general election in 1976. The prediction would mean the Communists picking up about thirty-one percent of the vote.
Early returns from the Interior Ministry showed the Christian Democrats, who have ruled Italy without interruption for thirty years, promised to remain the country's major party -- but without a clear majority. For Premier Giulio Andreotti, that gave the prospect of another long political crisis. If he continued, as head of the forty-second government since the war, he would still be powerless to govern the country effectively.