Italian turnout drops in key national election
ROME (AP) - Italians are voting for a second day on Monday in a national election that will determine if they are prepared to stay the course of painful economic reform or send a message of discontinuity to the political class that led the eurozone's third-largest country to the brink of disaster by rallying around a protest party.
Polls close at 3pm local time (10.00pm on Monday, Singapore time), ending two days of voting in an election being closely watched by Italy's eurozone partners as well as international investors trying to decide if they consider the third-largest economy in the Eurozone a good bet.
Turnout was 55 per cent when polls closed for the day on Sunday night, 7 percentage points below turnout rate in the last national election in 2008. Experts say a low turnout will hurt the mainstream parties; usually around 80 per cent of the 50 million eligible voters go to the polls.
Leading the electoral field is Mr Pier Luigi Bersani, a former communist who drafted liberalisation reforms under previous centre-left governments and supported tough measures pushed by incumbent Premier Mario Monti.