The final results of voting in Italy's local elections show a strong boost to the ruling Christian Democratic Party and an erosion of support for the Communists.
The final results of voting in Italy's local elections show a strong boost to the ruling Christian Democratic Party and an erosion of support for the Communists. The election campaign for 816 town councils was fought in the shadow of the kidnapping and murder of the former Christian Democrat leader, signor Aldo Moro.
SYNOPSIS: The Christian Democrats refused to bargain with the Red Brigades over Signor Moro's life, and claim that a rise in their share of the vote of nearly four percent was a vindication of their handling of the Moro affair. The Communists also strongly dissociated themselves from the Red Brigades' tactics, but lost nine percent in the local government elections; compared with the last general election.
Here in Viterbo, near Rome, and throughout Italy, citizens voted only five days after the body of Signor Moro, a former Premier, was found in an abandoned van. A Communist Party newspaper, "L 'Unita", pointed out that the elections had been held in exceptionally turbulent conditions. Referring to the Red brigades claim that they, not the official Communist Party, are true Communists, "L 'Unita" said terrorist aggression under the red banner had created a confusing situation for voters.
Nearly four million people, ten percent of the total voting population, went to the polls during two days of voting. While the Communists lost grounds compared with the 1976 general election, the socialist did well, getting four percent more than at the general election. The parliamentary leader of the Christian Democrats, Signor Flaminio Piccoli, said the wave of guerrilla violence in Italy had been an important factor in the elections. But he said the votes cast for his party were not purely emotional. The extremist parties throughout Italy did badly, with the neo-fascist Social Movement Party slumping from seven-point-one to four-point-five percent of total votes casts.