With only one day left in the campaign leading up to Italy's divorce law referendum, Italian politicians on both sides made emotional last-minute calls to voters on Thursday (9 May).
With only one day left in the campaign leading up to Italy's divorce law referendum, Italian politicians on both sides made emotional last-minute calls to voters on Thursday (9 May). The campaign was to officially end the following day prior to the holding of the referendum on Sunday and Monday of next week (12 and 13 May).
The Divorce Law referendum campaign has been a bitter one with traditionalists backed by the church calling for a "yes" vote to repeal the divorce laws. These were approved by the Italian parliament in 1970 by a narrow majority. The progressives who managed to push the Bill through are now again campaigning for a "no" vote and the retention of the divorce law. The Christian Democrat Party, a major party in Italy's coalition, is leading the fight against the Divorce Laws. Several party leaders are among the most powerful forces responsible for calling the referendum in the first place.
Defence Minister Giulio Andreotti, himself a Christian Democrat, against called for a vote to repeal the laws when he spoke to a mass audience at the Adriano Theatre in Rome. Like other Democratic party leaders he cited the break-up society and the family as the main reasons for a "yes" vote.
Among the strongest supporters of the Divorce Laws has been Italy's Communist Party. Party leader Enrico Berlinguer spent the final day of the campaign canvassing for a "no" vote. Mr. Berlinguer addressed a large crowd at Saint John's Square in the Italian capital.
The campaign has provide to be extremely divisive for Italy and many observers believe that whatever the result of the referendum the governing coalition may not survive in the turmoil likely to follow.