An estimated 40 million Italians started voting today (June 15) -- the commencement of two days of regional elections which could bring influenced gains for the Communists and Socialists.
CU PAN Party symbols
SV Nenni voting
SV Nun voting (3 shots)
SV Voters queueing
SV EXTERIOR Berlinguer arriving at polling station
SV Berlinguer voting and newsmen (2 shots)
SV Leone voting (2 shots)
Initials CL/0150 CL/0204
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Background: An estimated 40 million Italians started voting today (June 15) -- the commencement of two days of regional elections which could bring influenced gains for the Communists and Socialists.
Major swings in favour of both parties have been forecast, as the electorate shows its discontent following 30 years of uninterrupted power by the dominant Christian Democrat Party.
Gains for the Communist Party -- the largest in Western Europe -- would strengthen its long-standing demands for a share in national government, which have so far been rejected by the Christian Democrats.
It wold also mean an extension of the so-called "Red Belt" of communist-run provinces.
The elections will determine the political colouring of regional governments in 15 of Italy's 20 semi-autonomous regions. Also up for election are the governing bodies of 86 provinces and 6,345 municipalities.
The vote by over two million 18 to 21-years-old, enfranchised only last year, is expected to strengthen the swing to the Socialists and Communists. Results will be known tomorrow night.
SYNOPSIS: Party symbols give a panoramic view of the political movements in Italy -- contesting crucial regional elections over the weekend.
Socialist Pietro Nenni heads one of the parties expected to come out of the elections with increased support. A big swing to the left has been forecast, as the electorate votes to determine the political composure of fifteen of Italy's twenty semi-autonomous regions. Control of province and municipalities is also at stake. Discontent with the dominant Christian Democrats -- who've held a share of power for the last thirty years -- is expected to be a major factor affecting voting. And here, the disaffection of more than two million recently enfranchised eighteen to twenty-one-years-old could prove crucial.
Another man likely to face the results with confidence is Signor Enrico Berlinguer, Secretary of the Italian Communist Party, the largest in Western Europe. Extended communist control in the regions could at last make the party's demands for a share of central government irresistible -- despite traditional opposition by the Christian Democrats.
Among the early voters in Rome -- President Leone. About forty million people are expected to participate in the two days of voting. And the Government ordered a big security offensive to ensure that the voting got underway without a repetition of the violence that broke out during the preceding election campaign. Clashes and bomb attacks during the campaign period left six people dead and two-hundred wounded.