Second Round test for Berlusconi today
Silvio Berlusconi faces the second round of local elections today and tomorrow with signs that he will suffer further defeats.
The first round of elections on 15th & 16th May saw some 13 million Italians voting in 1,177 towns and nine provinces. Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Liberty Party (PDL) did badly in those elections with the mayoral vote in Milan, his power base, going to an unusual second round.
Today and tomorrow some 6 million Italians will vote in 90 towns and six provinces where the previous vote was inconclusive. These include Naples, where there has been a long running problem with garbage worker strikes, and Milan.
In Milan, the left wing Giuliano Pisapia won 48% of the vote in the first round, beating Berlusconi’s incumbent Letizia Moratti into second place with 41.6%. An upset in Milan will rock the very heart of the Berlusconi political machinery.
Berlusconi has been even more active in the past two weeks in what has turned into a vitriolic campaign with him attacking ‘left wing judges’, a reference to his several court cases. The amount of personal effort he has put into the campaign means that if he loses he will be severely damaged. Even his previous allies the Northern League are starting to distance themselves from him after poor results for them two weeks ago.