- Title: ITALY: ITALIANS VOTE IN GENERAL ELECTION
- Date: 21st April 1996
- Summary: ISOLA FARNESE, MILAN AND ROME, ITALY (APRIL 21, 1996) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) ISOLA FARNESE, NEAR ROME 1. GV: PEOPLE WALKING UP TO POLLING STATION 0.05 2. MV: SIGN FOR POLLING STATION 0.09 3. MV: INTERIORS - MAN VOTING 0.16 ROME 4. SV: NUNS LEAVING AND ENTERING POLLING STATION 0.30 5. MV: FORMER ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER GIULIO ANDREOTTI CASTS HIS VOTE 0.40 6. GV: WOMAN LOOKING AT LISTS OF PARTIES IN ELECTIONS 0.46 7. SV: PEOPLE READING NEWSPAPERS 0.52 8. GV: NATIONAL ALLIANCE LEADER GIANFRANCO FINI ENTERING POLLING STATION 1.11 9. MV: PEOPLE WATCHING 1.13 10. MV: FINI VOTING 1.16 MILAN 11. SV: PEOPLE VOTING (5 SHOTS) 1.32 12. GV: FREEDOM ALLIANCE LEADER SILVIO BERLUSCONI ENTERING POLLING STATION AND VOTES/ PRESS CUTAWAY (3 SHOTS) 1.53 ROME 13. LV: CATHEDRAL PLAZA/ MAN READING NEWSPAPER WHILE WALKING DOG (2 SHOTS) 2.00 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Embargoed: 6th May 1996 13:00
- Location: ISOLA FARNESE, MILAN AND ROME, ITALY
- Country: Italy
- Reuters ID: LVADLOTG24PO4DJ30M9O4IVH22T1
- Story Text: INTRO: Italy is voting in a general election billed by its rival political blocs as a chance for change and by opinion-makers as the prelude to what could be another hung parliament.
-------------------------------------------------------------------- Italy's voters began choosing a new government in bright sunshine on Sunday (April 21) in the third general election in four dramatic years of political upheaval.
But the outcome looked set to be a draw between main rivals media mogul Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right Freedom Alliance and a centre-left Olive Tree bloc led by Romano Prodi.
The last opinion polls, published on March 31, showed the rival blocs level-pegging in their campaign to form Italy's 55th government since World War Two.
Sunday's election is for members of Italy's 630-member Chamber of Deputies (lower house) and a 315-seat Senate.
Polling stations opened at seven a.m. (0500 GMT) and close at 10 p.m. (2000 GMT).
Definitive results were not expected until Monday evening, but Italy's main television stations planned to forecast the distribution of seats as soon as voting ends, based on "intention" surveys of voters carried out over the past week.
Political analysts believe growing disenchantment with politics may drive many voters to abstain or to vote for Communist Refoundation and the federalist Northern League, minority parties that could end up holding the balance of power.
Italy has failed to find stability since its old governing guard was buried in 1992 under an avalanche of graft scandals. It has been governed by technocrats for much of the past four years in the absence of stable parliamentary majorities.
Berlusconi, bidding despite a corruption trial to return to the prime minister's office he occupied briefly in 1994, has promised to work for radical constitutional reform to give Italy effective, durable government in the event of victory.
Prodi, who has never held major elected office, has also pledged to tackle the inadequacies of Italy's political system if the Olive tree bloc wins.
Many Italians believe the real contest is between post-fascist leader Gianfranco Fini, the key ally of Berlusconi, and Prodi's biggest backer, ex-communist Massimo D'Alema.
Support for the smooth-talking Fini's National Alliance movement has surged since the last election in March 1994.
D'Alema's Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) is the successor to the Italian Communist Party, disbanded after the end of the Cold War.
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